Here is where I was today: Caddo
I’m having a lazy day today. I have already watered and walked and taken some photos and done a load of laundry and fed the animals. In a few minutes I’ll go to the genealogy library and work for about three hours. But I didn’t awaken with any deep wisdom. I wasn’t eager to share any news or views. So you will have to settle for a few questions that have been bouncing around in my head this week. Maybe you can tell me the answers and I will blog those! In the meantime, enjoy the images from my morning walk.
1. If immigration is a federal issue and the federal government is supposed to take care of it, why haven’t they? Why has it become such a crisis, especially for the border states? We have been talking about this issue since I was a little kid working side by side with illegal aliens, yet we have not solved the problem.
2. Why are soap operas still on the air? Honestly…someone explain it to me.
3. Who in the world watches Maury?? Why???
4. Is it my imagination or are more women getting more and bigger tattoos? Again…why?
5. If BP is at fault for the oil problem and financially responsible for the cleanup, why does their big shot get to walk away with millions of dollars? Are they making him pay for anything??
6. Why are we spending millions of dollars on afterschool programs to decrease the “drop out” rate instead of spending millions of dollars on our public schools to improve them so kids don’t want to leave early?
7. If we have no idea how much money is being spent on “anti-terrorism” efforts and the government has no idea how much they are spending or in what areas, then why do we have to keep track of every dime we spend???
8. How in the world can we continue to respect a president who is such a media addict?
9. Is it my imagination or is Big Brother on every night of the week? Why?
10. Do I need to stop watching the news on television?
Have a great day!
“Fame is a scentless sunflower with gaudy colors of gold,
but friendship is a bathing rose with sweets in every fold.”
A friend commented on this line from Oliver Wendell Holmes that was quoted in a 1920 article about the Caddo High School reunion. The more I read it, the more I like it.
And the older I get, the more I truly appreciate the friendships that have blessed my life. I have a variety of friends- those who endured school with me, friends I’ve worked with, friends who are also relatives, friends who have been neighbors, friends who simply share passions and activities and experiences. But my best friend, the one who has been through everything with me is my spouse, my husband, my companion, Gary.
I know that every wife doesn’t consider her husband her best friend. Husbands can be so annoying. And Gary does drive me crazy at least once a week!! JYes, honey, you do. But can’t we say the same for anyone we know and love? Do we expect more perfection from our husbands than from our girlfriends? We shouldn’t.
Gary and I have been through a roller coaster of experiences and emotions together. We’ve witnessed dreams that failed and unexpected blessings that astonished us. We’ve raised three incredible children together, even though his father warned us both that we couldn’t do it. We’ve prayed beside hospital beds together, and for each other. We’ve attended graduations, weddings, funerals, and countless sporting events. We’ve moved and vacationed and even worked together. We’ve taken classes together and enjoyed each other’s company. We’ve spent forty years getting to know each other- thirty eight of them as Mr. and Mrs.
I know that our days together are growing shorter. Each of us has had relatives who have lived to be 90+ and we hope that we will be among that select group. However, the knowledge that we may only have another twenty years together makes our time today even more important. I hope we continue to appreciate each other and enjoy our family and hobbies and other friends. Today I can say that I’ve never been happier to be the wife, and best friend, of this guy!
So… I’ve been admiring this handsome herd all summer, but I was always on my way somewhere, in a hurry, when they were close to the fence. Or I had the camera with me and plenty of time and they were nowhere to be seen. Well, today I was coming back from a photo shoot in town and I had the camera with me, but I could barely see them in the distance beneath the trees. I turned down their road anyway and decided to just take a couple of long distance shots and hope for the best.
Well, I parked the truck on the side of the road and you would have thought I had driven an ice cream truck into a group of starving four-year-olds. They were headed my way before I could climb out of the cab! Lol
It is almost time for school to begin and my thoughts have turned to the children who will be in my care this year. One of the things that we do throughout the year is talk about ways to take good care of our bodies. As part of our science curriculum we study how our bodies work, basic nutrition, good habits, and healthy foods. I hope that I will continue to lose weight this year and be a better example to my students. Unfortunately, even though I have a better diet than most of my students and their parents, my size is all they see and judge. I’m sure many parents think I live on ice cream and doughnuts.
I’ve also been reading about the concerns over school lunches and how they contribute to childhood obesity. Since most children eat breakfast and lunch and a snack at school, I have to agree that school food is partly responsible for the increase in childhood obesity. But are schools actually the primary problem? And do we need to play the blame game? Will it help our children if we spend most of our time figuring out where to point our finger?
I’ve said before that I never eat school food. I’ve always thought it had too much salt, fat, and sugar. Too much of it is fried. Too much of it is overcooked. Besides, I spent over twelve years eating it as a kid! When I got to be the teacher I also got to say “no thank you”. J
However, let me say a couple of things in defense of school food. Children have options. Children eat what they are accustomed to eating at home. Many of our students bring their own lunches on days when they don’t like what is on the menu. For the most part, what they have in their little bags is far worse than what is on the school tray!! Chips, cookies, and a peanut butter sandwich on white bread, without the crust, is the standard bag lunch. And don’t get me started on those “plastic food” Lunchables!!
Even when the cafeteria serves a fairly balanced meal, children only eat what they want to eat. So a child may skip the vegetables or even fruit, if he/she isn’t used to eating them at home.
Many of my students eat breakfast from the local convenience store, doughnut shop, or fast-food restaurant. They arrive with the remnants of a sausage biscuit or chocolate covered doughnut and a bottle of chocolate milk clutched in their hands and finish them at the table with the other children.
I know from previous experience that many of our children will arrive at school next month with extra pounds on their little bodies. Some of them have spent much of the summer snacking in front of the television. I didn’t even recognize one child last year because she had gained about ten pounds over the summer. That is a lot of extra weight for a young child!
I don’t want to play the blame game this year and be part of the problem. I want us all- parents, grandparents, teachers, students- to work together to get healthier and be part of the solution for our children. There are three key things I would like for everyone to work on this school year. Three is a manageable number and I think these three things can make a significant impact on our children:
1. Let’s wean ourselves and our children off sodas. We don’t have to have a big discussion about the negative effects of sodas. We know that they are harmful. We know we shouldn’t drink them. We know our children shouldn’t drink them. You have to ask yourself why you are giving something to a child that you know is harmful! Most schools have removed them from campus. Let’s remove them from our lives.
2. Let’s stop eating fast food in our vehicles. I know, I know. Everyone is busy. Children have sports and lessons and programs. But I can’t think of very many healthy foods that you can get from a drive-thru window and eat in the car. I once talked with a woman whose child ate in the car at least four times a week! That isn’t healthy for anyone. We need to make changes in our schedules, pack healthy snacks for our children, and think about what we are teaching them.
3. Let’s put down the salt shakers. We’ve talked about it. We know salt is killing us. The food industry is starting to pay attention. Let’s all make an effort to at least stop putting salt on top of our food. Children never see a salt shaker at school. Let’s take them off the table at home.
So that is your homework for the year. Everyone take a deep breath and decide which one to tackle first. We can do this!!
Gary helped me in the yard this weekend and we enjoyed some pleasant memories and conversation. One of the things I love about him is that his background is similar to, but not the same as mine. He grew up working in the fields, but his family owned the land. We grew up in the same general time period, but he is seven years older. We experienced many of the same things, but since his family was wealthy, at least compared to mine, his experiences are just a bit different. We went to high school in the same town, but at different schools.
So I like it when we work together and talk. Besides, Gary does some of the things I hate to do- like raking. As he raked the grass and I watered plants, we talked about food.
First we talked about salt. Last week Robert loaned us his copy of season three of Mad Men and one of the episodes shows the grandpa salting his ice cream. Neither of us could recall ever seeing anyone do that, but we did remember our parents salting green onions, tomato slices, watermelon, lemons, and cantaloupe- all things that we would never salt now. Of course Gary’s family had little glass salt dishes on the table for dipping things like green onions. My family just poured little piles on their plates, directly from the cardboard carton.
We also talked fondly of white bread. Friday I bought a loaf of cheap white bread for the raccoons and I left it on the counter near the microwave. The rest of our bread is kept in the refrigerator because Babe loves, and steals, bread! She will rip it right out of the bag. Since I wasn’t concerned with what she might do with the raccoon’s bread, I didn’t even put it away. So the fridge contained sliced sourdough bread, whole wheat buns, thin bagels, and whole wheat sandwich rounds. Gary came home at 11:30pm and made a sandwich with –you guessed it, the white bread. Lol I scolded him the next morning and reminded him that eating white bread is like eating marshmallows! I don’t think he cares. J He reminded me during our garden talk that we both grew up eating tons of fluffy white bread. In fact, we ate sliced bread at nearly every meal, and usually it was covered with mayonnaise, not butter.
Then we discussed salad dressing because that was something that I can’t recall Mom ever buying. She always made it from scratch if we used any at all. We didn’t eat a lot of traditional salads, just lots of sliced veggies from the garden. My grandmother loved Thousand Island dressing and my grandfather liked French. I hated both!! Still do. Gary’s family ate Roquefort.
One of the health newsletters I subscribe to sent me an email this morning about the seven foods you should NEVER eat. The first on the list was doughnuts. That’s one thing Gary and I have always been in agreement on- don’t really like them, don’t buy them, don’t often eat them. The exception is a potato doughnut I occasionally make from scratch. But Gran loved doughnuts and I often stopped on the way home from work to buy a dozen for her. And I helped her eat them. Now I find them much too sweet and greasy.
Anyway, enough babbling. We all have funny memories about foods and the eating habits of our families. I’d love to hear yours!
Have a great day!!
Today I’m not going to delve into the discussion that so many people are obsessed with at the moment. I’m neither qualified nor passionate enough to speak about something that has so affected and divided one of our major cities. However, I do feel compelled to offer up a little history lesson for my family and friends in Podunk America. If we are going to speak to this issue, or any other concerning our rights, at least let us not do it in ignorance.
I begin, not with the First Amendment, but with the Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”
Most of us are quite familiar with that first part, but don’t remember any of the rest of the somewhat lengthy document. The Declaration of Independence includes a whole laundry list of complaints against the King of Britain and establishes valid reasons why the United States should be independent and self-governing. And I think that much of the wording testifies to the intellect and experience of our founding fathers. I especially like this statement:
“…all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
The founding fathers of this country seemed to recognize that many people would oppose them simply because continuing the status quo was so much easier.
Now, on to the Constitution. The Articles of Confederation actually served as our first constitution from 1781-1789. There wasn’t much mention of God or religion in the Articles, except for Article III and then the closing.
“The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.”
“…And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union.”
Then, finally, after many drafts and much discussion, and some editing and more drafts, we ended up with the Constitution and the amendments or Bill of Rights.
I find Madison’s draft of the first amendment interesting:
''The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretence, infringed.''
That seems much more specific, at least concerning religion, than what we ended up with:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
I know that decades of argument have followed that declaration of our rights, but I feel confident, given the history of the founding fathers, that their intent was to prevent the persecution of their constituents. The majority of our founding fathers were Episcopalian, the America version of the Church of England. Many were Presbyterians and Congregationalists; a few represented Quakers and other groups. Most of them knew the consequences of tyranny and persecution. (Interesting note: the majority of our presidents have been Episcopalian and Presbyterian.)
I am not equipped by virtue of education or experience, to debate our First Amendment rights, but I offer the conclusions by which I live my life:
1. My rights do not give me permission to impinge upon the rights of others- even if I do not agree with them, even if I am offended by what they are doing. I may hate what my colleague, neighbor, town council or even my president is doing. I have a right to give my opinion, but there may not be anything I can do about it. My opinion, my vote, even my right to legal recourse may not be enough to change something that bothers me.
2. I cannot have more rights without also giving them to someone else who may have an entirely different agenda. That is why I do NOT want public, vocal prayer in school. If I can pray aloud at a school function, then the devil worshipper sitting next to me will be entitled to the same privilege and I don’t want to listen to him!! I can pray silently anytime I choose, and believe me, that is very, very often.
3. I am free to be me! That should be enough. God admonishes us not to judge others. He has told us over and over to take care of our own sins and our own business. Jesus told us to love our enemies. I am free in the United States to do that without fear!
There is much that is wrong with our country. I’m ashamed of most of what our society has come to accept as “normal”. I am afraid of what our grandchildren will have to confront in the future. But I am still proud and grateful to live in America. I wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else on earth.
My post yesterday brought me many happy memories of growing up in the country. I don’t think about it often, but I also spent twenty years living in the city, so my life has sort of made a full circle. What I have been thinking about this morning is how my childhood in the country prepared me for living in the city. The transition was really quite easy for me, but I’m not sure if the opposite would have worked as well. I don’t know if a childhood in the city would have prepared me to live in the country! And I have found that many of my city friends are frightened and uncomfortable away from their sidewalks and skyscrapers.
My title this morning was the title of my grandmother’s newspaper column. I have many copies of her writings and she often spoke of the animals and plants surrounding them. She talked about neighbors and crops and weather. She lamented the sorry state of politics and progress. She wrote poetry and shared her hopes and prayers. She was the consummate country woman and proud of it!
I’m not sure that enough of our younger generation gives due respect to the quiet steadfastness of country women. I saw an older farm woman at a restaurant recently, and I noticed the “looks” that her appearance got from a couple of young women at a nearby table. She had rolled her braided hair up on the top of her head and she wore a long skirt and a long-sleeved shirt. I noticed that her hands were worn and calloused and bent with arthritis. But she also had perfect posture and a calm confidence. I wonder if the young girls know how inconsequential their “cuteness” will be in a few years, or how insignificant their wardrobe will become in comparison to their willpower and dignity.
My childhood in the country gave me stability and an understanding of the rhythm and flow of life. No matter how often or where we moved, the seasons were the same, the harvests were the same, and the animals were the same. I saw things spring to life and sometimes die just as quickly. I worked hard at things I cared nothing about, just because they needed to be done. I worked long hours. I got hurt. I got over it. Great preparation for life.
I leave you with a poem from Della:
I think that I shall never see
A day so bright and fair,
It makes me want to fill my lungs,
With pure sweet country air.
It makes me want to grab some seed
And plant them in the earth,
And watch them resurrected
Along with spring’s rebirth.
To watch things coming from the ground,
Where once was cold dead sod,
Makes me want to heed the great command-
Be still and know that I am God!
As today winds down and I count my blessings I am reminded of Luke 6:38, “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve today, but it has certainly been full and running over with joy.
The day began with the neighbors gathering in their hay. I don’t know what it is about hay season that brings me joy, but it makes me smile every year. It brings back memories of my childhood when we lived on a dairy. It reminds me of the years when my father and brothers cut hay. I learned to drive in the hay fields. I was nine years old and drove our old car and pulled a trailer that Dad piled high with hay bales. We played in the hay when I was a kid. Our cat had kittens in the stacks of hay bales in the barn. Hay just makes me smile!
My next blessing this morning came when I was watering the flowerbeds, and of course didn’t have the camera with me. The squirrel scampered down from the tree, got a drink from the nearly empty bird bath on the west side of the house, and then sprawled out flat on her stomach right in the middle of it! She actually stretched her front paws over the edge in front of her and her back paws straight out behind her, with her tail dangled over the back. Her little stomach was directly over the spot where the last drop of water had been a few seconds before. I don’t know what she was trying to do, but I laughed out loud!
After I finished watering I drove north to our old home place to spend some time with a woman I have known all of my life. We were next-door neighbors and gardening buddies for thirteen years. She is 91 years old and still wise and witty and in relatively good health. Still drives, still plays canasta with friends. I remember eating cookies at her house when I was a very little girl. My grandparents were her neighbors then, and I think I was often as excited to see her as I was to see my grandparents! I played dolls with her girls. I remember thinking she was the nicest person I had ever met. She still is! She has been an example of strong Christian faith for many, many young people. We spent the morning talking and laughing and looking at her flowers.
I took the “long way home” and drove past my aunt’s old home place, the canyon where we used to play, another aunt’s house, and my uncle’s old home. Good memories!
I actually cooked lunch for Gary today! He is working the 2-11 shift so I thought I might be nice and fix him a real lunch. We had pork chops and rice and okra. It was good to sit and talk and enjoy our food before he went off to work. I didn’t mind eating dinner alone tonight.
I spent the afternoon working on research. I’m working on my book and also doing some family work for several other people. I love genealogy research so much! I find it fascinating and fulfilling to help people locate their ancestors and discover how and why they settled here. I’m also working on our family tree again and scanning some old photos and documents.
I mowed about a third of the lawn, and yes, even that was a blessing. I’m able to mow it- that’s good. It has been wet enough for it to grow and need to be mowed- that’s good. And it looks so nice when it is finally done, that it makes me smile!
Finished the evening with a little raccoon entertainment. I’m not sure how much longer the family will stay together. I guess I need to read a little more about the dynamics of raccoon families. Anyway, I still enjoy watching them!
And if that wasn’t enough excitement, joy, and blessing for a day, Babe decided to add a little wackiness by sleeping right up against the front door this evening, just like one of those “draft stoppers” you buy in the winter. Do you think I can convince her to do that in December?? LOL NOT!
Count your blessings and sleep well!