Monday, June 28, 2010


It's a favorite spot. The MAGIC TENT comes out of the closet and goes up as soon as a parent says a grandchild is on the way for a visit. It's a 4 x 4 foot square green plastic structure with a pointed ceiling tall enough for a 6 yr. old to stand up in with a zippered front flap for a door. The framework is made of 1/2 inch PVC pipe that goes together quickly and it soon fills one corner of the master bedroom. We throw in pillows, stuffed animals and brightly colored children's quilts and it's ready!

Giggles, knock-knock jokes and shadow puppet shows provided by a huge flashlight make sleeping in the tent almost impossible. It is sometimes used as a doghouse for stuffed dogs or a home for bears, bunnies, or baby-dolls. Nothing like a tent to fire up an imagination.

The real Magic occurs when the books come out. We read Dr. Suess, the Berenstain Bears, pop-up books, picture books, and Bible stories. All those characters come to life with dramatic readings, changes in voice or dialect. Eyes get bigger and little bodies squeeze closer together as new adventures are experienced. The Magic can be felt inside that tent and seen inside those impressionable minds.

We take reading very seriously at our house and hope to instill in all little tent people a love of books. We keep an extensive library for that very purpose.

Perhaps when they grow up the old fashion book will be obsolete. New technology may well replace those printed pages bound with glue and covered with a book jacket. Maybe touching the screen of a hand-held computer will be the common method of transferring information even if it is fiction. Perhaps holograms will replace those fabulous illustrations.

Perhaps even a MAGIC TENT will be considered obsolete. But I doubt it!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Edwin was his name and he was the most fascinating character in the neighborhood. He lived about 1/4 mile from the family farm, just an easy walk right up the lane. He was always dressed in clean dark overalls, the kind that have a bib and buttons with brass clasps on each shoulder. He was very intelligent and could carry on a conversation with anyone about anything. His big country grin, gentle spirit and fresh jokes were welcome everywhere he went.

His house was hidden in the shade of several towering oak trees, a simple clapboard structure. It had a detached garage with several mongrel looking dogs and a few barn cats roaming around. The yard was usually somewhat overgrown but the shady front porch still looked inviting on those hot, muggy Illinois summer days.

When I knew him he was a widower, his long time companion had sinced passed away. It seemed that since he was living alone he was a much desired companion to all the farmers of nearby "Crackers Bend." It was highly unusual to NOT see a shiny new pickup or two or three parked on the gravel/grassy driveway. His reputation as a welder had earned him much respect by folks that needed that sort of work done frequently. The art of welding metal together in that dark old barn was in much demand, for farm equipment was evidently fragile in that area.

OR his popularity could have been attributed to his stash of moonshine liquor. He knew how to brew up white lightnin', watermelon wine, blackberry brandy and more. His kitchen cupboards were always full of interesting bottles of the thirst-quenching treats.

And Edwin was generous. Once the welding was complete it was time for a swig and those farmers loved it and looked forward to the offer. Coming home to face the missus after a visit to Edwin's was an experience they were willing to endure. Unusually happy red faces and big smiles were common sights on summer Saturday evenings. Evidently it was very good stuff!

No one knew where the still was hidden but it's location was the speculation of the area. Visions of copper tubing, wood piles burning, and washed clean bottles were common. Those recipes were highly regarded legends. He never gave them away and they died when he did.

The old farmers still talk about Edwin and they miss him and his talents! Their farm equipment doesn't break down as often as it used to now. Evidently it must be fabricated from a higher quality of metal these days.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Last night was PARTY TIME on our street! Well, the word party just might be stretching the truth somewhat. It was the celebration of the 85 years our neighbor Bob has been on this earth.

He and his sweet little wife were headed to bed about 7:30 when we surprised them with a birthday cake and candles! They were thrilled! They live next door right across the little creek that divides our property. Honeybuns and Bob share lawn mowing duties of that area and it is golf-course beautiful! Their kitchen and dining room windows look out toward our house and they keep a watchful eye on us.

We all laughed again about the day Bob came running to the rescue when Honeybuns put the riding lawn mower in the creek. And then were was the time Honeybuns scared away the teen-agers that were ringing their doorbell in the middle of the night. That's the kind of stuff good neighbors share!

About six month ago we began to see less and less of our elderly neighbors as they began to move slower, stay indoors more and go out to their favorite restaurant less and less. There have been a couple of incidents involving the fire dept. and rescue squad during that time resulting in hospital stays.

Their family members are long gone and their only daughter lives far away. Visitors are rare. And yesterday a big "For Sale" sign appeared on their front lawn. They have plans to move closer to their daughter as time creeps by and they see the need of more help for daily chores. It's a wise but difficult decision for them and a sad one for us, too.

The party of 4 was a big success as we again listened to tales of long ago. We learned that they "courted" on the back of a motorbike, he actually lived with his family in a tent for 3 years during the depression and they married in her mothers living room on his R&R from the Navy. He saw active duty in the Pacific during WWII.
Before they moved to this neighborhood they'd lived on a large farm and raised cattle.

Their eyes light up and both become more animated when they are transported by their memories to a younger and more carefree time.

I love having neighbors. The more, the better! Honeybuns dreams of buying some land so we could live out in the country. If that were to happen he would then drive into the city each day and interact with his co-workers and I would be stuck staring at the back end of a horse or some silly cow. Nope, that's not going to happen.

If we had chosen to live in the country when we moved to OK, we would never have met Bob and Imogene! And our lives would have missed them.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Jerry Lee received a HORSE for Christmas! And the end of that story was that he ended up in the slammer!

Although all children dream of getting a horse for Christmas I never actually knew anyone that did.

This child was no longer a child but in his teenage years. He was the grandson of my Granny's sister, so I guess that made us second cousins. I only saw him a couple of times in my young life before we all grew up and went our separate ways. No one ever talked about just "why" he was living with his grandparents, but as I overheard whispered conversations I came to the conclusion that something highly unusual had taken place and therefore he was being raised by his grandparents.

Aune Rene (pronounced Reenie) and Uncle Henry were absolutely delightful and the announcement that we were going on that hour car ride to visit them sent thrills into my heart. She was a little plump, just like Granny, and he was as skinny as a bean pole. They reminded me of the old rhyme about Jack Sprat and his lovely bride.
(Remember: Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean....So, between them both they licked the platter clean.)

During those rare but exciting visits Jerry Lee was often out and about. After all, it was the 60's and most teenagers didn't hang around the house waiting to be entertained by a couple of sissified young distant cousins. In his absence the conversation always focused on him. It seems his wild and rebellious ways were always the source of dismay for his grandparents that loved him dearly. They struggled.

He was no doubt indulged in all they could possibly afford as they tried to parent, grandparent, befriend and love. I'm sure that's why the horse appeared at Christmastime. Perhaps they felt that such a gift would help develop a sense of responsibility and a little gratitude.

Jerry Lee promptly mounted that beautiful beast, rode down the street and robbed the local bank. He didn't get too far when apprehended and as they say the rest is history.

As sad as this whole scenario must have been for his grandparents, it became another point of instant laughter at our house. One liners grew funnier over the years each time the story was re-told. We always wondered why they would buy a horse that couldn't out-run the local small town keystone cops. The whole thing presented such a mental visual that I remember the details to this day!

You just never know what a teen-ager might do with a horse.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I was flat on my back looking at the crystal blue sky when the metal hook reached down for me! The very kind man with the hook arm was trying to help me get to my feet. Little did he know that this was only the second day of my entire life that I'd had snow skis strapped on my body!

The slope was located in beautiful Steamboat, CO. and our family had joined our soon-to-be daughter-in-laws family for a ski vacation. The setting was fabulous and the family fun was wonderful. My skiing skills were pathetic. It was day 2 of ski school, day 1 had not gone very well either. Honeybuns took out a fence about 30 min. into the beginners class. I'd already crashed on the bunny slope and a circle of a dozen 3 yr-olds and their instructor came to my rescue. That experience was humbling enough!

Never one to give up easily I'd jumped on the ski lift on day 2 with every intention of trying one more time to make it down that hill and be alive at the bottom. As my chair approached the top and it was time to "slide" off, I fell head over heels and ended up planted in the snow. Did you know that when someone falls off the ski lift the whole thing shuts down until that person is upright once again? Skilled athletes were patiently dangling in the wind as I laid flat on my back.

That wonderful gentleman that came to help me had such good intentions. I just couldn't get passed his artificial metal hook arm reaching down for me. I laid back in the snow and burst into hysterical laughter, with visions of me hanging like a piece of beef right off his arm. After what seemed like eternity a couple of other brave souls came along and pulled me out of that snowy death.

I believe that is the same day that I barged into that little brown hut located very near the slope and introduced myself to the Rescue Squad. I talked them into riding me down that hill on the rescue-with-a-red-cross-on-the-top snow mobile. Waving as I passed by my surprised family members gave me such a sense of relief. When I got to the bottom I ditched those excruciatingly painful boots, poles and skis with a vow to never attempt that sport again.

Some of us just aren't made to ski. I'm not sure how wise it is for anyone to attempt to slide down a hill that has an ambulance waiting at the bottom.

And this past spring I enjoyed watching my grandchildren whiz by me at incredible speeds as they made their way down the slopes at Durango, CO. They are fearless, made of rubber and have a NEED for speed.

Thinking about about snow skiing on a 99 degree summer day in OK is a good thing!

Friday, June 18, 2010


I've just discovered Dr. Caroline Leaf! She lives in Dallas with her husband and 4 children and has been researching the human brain since 1981 with particular emphasis on it's vast untapped potential.

Here's the hot news: She has MEDICAL proof that our toxic thoughts affect our lives and health far more than anyone ever dreamed. The research shows that fear, all on its own, triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones. What we THINK about affects us physically and emotionally. IF we are living with toxic thoughts and emotions we develop cancer, diabetes, asthma, allergies....the list goes on and on. Chemicals are released into our bodies by our thoughts. If those thoughts are TOXIC our brain goes haywire and produces depression, phobias, panic attacks, fatigue, lethargy, exhaustion, insomnia, anxiety, foggy thinking, lack of creativity, headaches and poor memory. (I can't even begin to describe what happens to children by the stress we place on them!)

In other words, it is true that we can talk ourselves into or out of a hizzy fit and if we DON'T we are actually talking ourselves into being ILL.

Dr. Leaf's research is fascinating. Her book "Who Switched Off My Brain?" begins with several chapters of medical lingo that are extremely important but a little overwhelming. Then there is a chapter on healthy emotions and the three negative beliefs that affect our emotional life. They are: "I must do well", "You must treat me well" and "The world must be easy." There is a section on how negative stress affects children for life....egads! There is some very enlightening research about teen-agers. She ends with steps to de-tox our thought life. It's encouraging to know that it's never too late to re-vamp those brain creases. And of course she includes those important issues we already know: diet, exercise, fun, our spiritual life, forgiveness, and relaxation. We can't leave those out!

I'm sure all my Dr. friends already know these things, but I find this fascinating. It addresses that age old question of why DO we behave the way we do, and the harm we do to ourselves by letting thoughts run rampant!

How many times have I spouted, "We behave the way we behave because we believe what we believe."
Now, I have to add, "We are sick because of what we believe!" Oh, my....

Makes me think of the verse, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy THINK about such things." Philippians 4:8

Once again, the Bible is proven relevant. Dr. Leaf agrees with that, too. I like this smart woman.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Today was SUPERHERO day at the Broken Arrow library! Our local storyteller is fabulous and a heroine herself. Her emphasis today reminded me of this picture. Now there's a threesome for you. Tiki, Dax, and Gabby were playing when their mommy snapped this picture. There for a short time Superman, Batman and Spider-girl reigned in that household, initiated world peace and maybe even snagged a cookie.

I suppose our first superhero is always our own Dads. Then as the years pass we realize that those big shoes are filled with human beings. It's a rite of passage to come to such knowledge. Then there are those good teachers, principals, first loves, public figures, firemen, policemen, pastors, grown sons, etc....the list could go on. But it doesn't take long to realize that none of those important people can leap tall buildings, fly faster than a speeding bullet, or cast a web that holds the weight of an adult male. In fact, it is a real disservice to them to apply such pressure.

Now having said that, I must admit that when my world starts to cave in my human being heroes always step up to the plate. Honeybuns is equipped with a supernatural talent to assess the situation and quickly come up with a solution or at least a plan of action. I trust him completely. In difficult times I also send out an SOS via e-mail to Andy and Philip. It goes like this, "I need to say something, give me a call!" I don't do that very often but when I do, their response is immediate. They listen intently and always share a point of view that I'd never considered. Following them is my brother-in-law who is the funniest man alive and always puts things into perspective. Other family members, my daughters-in-law, and good long-time friends are on my list, too. I could go on and on.

My heroes are folks of integrity, honesty and wisdom. They value truth and call evil out when it raises it's ugly head, even when it's within me. They are kind and have my best interests at heart.

I fear for those who put their trust in Hollywood myths, psycho-babbling authors, and phony baloney experts who are interested only in lining their own pockets. (I can call out evil, too!) I'm sad for naive teenagers who by-pass their parents and look to their peers for help, or worse yet rock stars, immoral sports figures, or the drug dealer on the corner.

Heroes ARE out there, sometimes as close as our own backyard, or as in the case of this picture, right there in our very own living room!

Monday, June 14, 2010


The squeal was almost ear-piercing! I was talking with Philip on the phone Sat. when this horrendous but happy yell drowned out our conversation. Eight month old Thompson was in the back seat tightly buckled. Philip laughed and declared, "he's found his voice!" Evidently this quiet little, pensive, contented baby boy has decided that he's got something to say! No one knows what it is, but it's attention-getting to say the least. No doubt he knows what he's trying to communicate, but it's going to take the rest of us a little while to "hear".

Most of us know what we're trying to say! But, sometimes the actual execution of those thoughts comes out pretty much as baby-talk, pig-latin or "spin". It happens here at the house regularly. It happens in schools, at the workplace, in churches, in Congress, on the TV, etc. I challenge myself continually to listen carefully..... to try to actually HEAR what a person is not verbalizing. It truly does not take a PhD degree but simply time. And the discipline of focus.

Sometimes I ask Honeybuns to repeat what I've just said and when he does a small riot begins. It works the same way in the opposite direction also. Remember that old game, gossip? A person whispers a phrase into the ear of another, that one whispers what he thought he heard to another, etc...and on it goes. The last person playing the game blurts out the phrase and it is usually not even close to the original.
It's fun when it's a game, not so fun when feelings, tasks, or national policies are involved.

Careful to speak, careful to listen! We have one mouth and two ears for a reason. It's twice as hard to hear as it is to spout off some nonsense, a self-serving fib or an inconsiderate barb.
It truly is more noble to understand than to be understood.

Thompson found his voice, I'm hoping that when he's an adult he will find his ears.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


9 years ago today a miracle occurred. Margaret Kennedy Braner was born in Durango, CO. We did not know it at the time, but this baby girl would become a wonderful addition to her little family. Every baby is precious and adored, but not every baby has the personality of Maggie! She is the sweetest, most patient, most creative, most thoughtful young girl.

Her parents were beginning another season of Kanakuk Colorado, a beautiful sports camp nestled in a valley outside Bayfield. There was much to do and many details to perform before the campers arrived. BUT, the most important task her Mommy could perform was to bring Maggie into the world.

At the moment of her arrival we were in central Illinois with other family members sitting near the hospital bed of Maggie's great grandmother who at that time was critically ill. Jamie sent pictures via e-mail and every distant relative received a copy and rejoiced at her birth. She was very welcome news amidst the sadness that permeated that hospital room. I made plane reservations to fly out to greet her time and time again only to have to cancel them because of Grandma's deteriorating condition. She was 6 weeks old before I held her in my arms for the first time.
She screamed LIFE after the sadness of death.

She is still bringing new life to all of us, every time we are near. She is filled with grace and charm, a quick smile and an uncanny sense of what to do when one of her siblings need some comforting or are about to get into trouble.

We simply cannot wait to see what Maggie is going to do with her life, where she will go, and what people she will impact.



Charmin, Charmin everywhere! We suspect that the unidentified culprits are probably young, muscular, agile, and fun-loving. This was the view out my bedroom window last Thursday morning. I was visiting my wonderful Houston friends and enjoying their hospitality for a few days when the "white-out" occurred.

The paper icicles were hung beautifully, as if planned. It was refreshing to "feel" the chill in the Houston heat and humidity. The neighbors came out to inspect the scenery and gathered together for the view. There was much speculation and concern.

This teen-age past-time is called Tee-Peeing and is usually performed as an honor for some cute teen-age girls. It's one of those "I like you and want to give you some attention" rituals. The whole idea is to surprise the girls (and their parents)by covering the trees in their front yard with miles and miles of toilet paper. The artwork is created in the cover of darkness usually by some boys that are friends with the girls. The guys buy the medium at the local grocery OR perhaps steal it from their parents bathroom, head out in a group all the while swearing secrecy and silence. Sometimes hours are spent slipping through the trees tossing whole rolls of the 2-4 ply white tissue paper high into the air, letting it unroll and cascade down through the branches of tall pines and scrub oak.

THIS particular display missed it's mark. Evidently the boys got confused about the appropriate address and "hit" the yard of my friends. They are Empty Nester's and GRANDPARENTS and as one neighbor declared "the nicest people on the street!" Who in the world would want to mess up THEIR yard?

It was my friends opportunity to step up to the plate and once again display grace and humor. As she laughed and assured the neighbors that she truly was not offended, we picked up what had hit the ground and reached up as far as our short arms would allow, pulling the trailing tissue from the branches. Mom after Mom stopped by with apologies and promises of help from their daughters with the clean up. No need!
We piled mounds of gathered tissue and several rolls into the trash can and left the rest to the wind and rain.

Teen-agers are great, aren't they? Not that many years ago they were tipping over out-houses, stealing watermelons from the gardens of farmers, and painting the small town water tower the color of the local high school mascot. Oh, now I remember, that was US, wasn't it?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Laundry must be another one of those cultural differences found throughout the world. The country you're in determines the method of completing the task. People everywhere have to do laundry, you know.

This picture was taken in Venice, Italy and portrays just ONE method of doing that familiar chore. I suppose this might be preferable to beating clothes against a rock down by a river. Give me my old standard GE washer and dryer any day. However, I must admit that nothing smells as good as sheets dried on an old clothesline in the middle of a hot summer day! Those were the days!

Coit Road in Dallas is one of those main arteries that connect Plano with downtown Dallas. About halfway through the journey is an amazing sight. On the east side of the road located in one of the many strip malls is a laundry/dry cleaning business. It's been there for many years and you can't help but notice it.

The sign above the storefront business reads: DECENT CLEANERS! Yep, not exceptional, not excellent, not extraordinary....just decent. I'm sure that those hard working owners have relocated from another country and somehow missed the little nuance of translation. Maybe they named it that on purpose, just to draw attention. It certainly does that, AND lots of laughter and wonder!

Does this mean that only one leg of my pants is washed? If the right sleeve of my favorite sweater is cleaned is the left left dirty for the next visit? Is the spot on my silk blouse now a permanent decorative stain? Are the prices adjusted for the "decent" job?

Perhaps the curse of perfectionism is only visited on Americans.
Maybe we're all just too "uptight" with our expectations.

I'm thinking that the next time I'm in Dallas I need to stop in and get to know those folks!

Monday, June 7, 2010


I'd stopped at one of those fast food restaurants for a quick sandwich. Sitting alone in one of those booths with the half-walls at my right side, I was startled when a head popped up over the top of it. It was a man near my age with a big smile on his face and a hand full of pictures. He asked, "Would you look at pictures of my 2 yr. old granddaughter?" Sure! He leaned farther over the partition and handed them to me. He explained that he was headed to the airport to pick up this darling little girl and that he thought she was the cutest thing ever! I slowly looked and commented that truly, she was beautiful! He told me her name, the day she was born, how long it had been since he'd seen her and the length of her soon visit. He was SO excited and about to burst. After sufficient oohs and aahhs I returned the pictures, congratulated him on his new status in life and he was on his way.

Evidently I looked like a Grandma that would understand his complete and total devotion to his granddaughter!

He was right!

B.G. (before grandchildren) I'd vowed that I would NEVER become one of those obnoxious old people that bored everyone they saw with pictures and stories of shriveled up little babies and toddlers with spaghetti on their heads. That was BEFORE we received that phone call September 21, 1998. Our first grandchild, Andrew Hays Braner was born in Springfield, MO. We were living in Savannah, GA at the time. I felt the physical transformation. It started at the top of my head and flowed to the toes of my feet. I instantly became ONE OF THEM! I was normal one minute and the next a "silly goose grandma". The metamorphosis was complete and permanent. From that moment on no one was spared my stories and pictures. I happily made deals with my friends, if they would look at my pictures now, I would look at their pictures in the future. If not, no deal!

Only after they too become grandparents do they understand the need to talk, to share story after story after story.

The morning after Hays was born we jumped in the car and drove all those long miles to see him in the hospital! He was (and is) wonderful! He's now 11.

There's just nothing like grand parenting. We now have eight and they are all absolutely PERFECT. They can do no wrong and are the delights of our hearts. They have NO IDEA how much they are loved. Our best time is when they are near!

(The picture is of me and Thompson, born last October! Thought you might like to see it!!)

I repent of idolatry regularly.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Twenty years ago I witnessed a scene that changed me forever. It occurred at a party at the home of a co-worker of Honeybuns. I think it was a Christmas party because I vaguely remember Poinsettias. The food, the flowers, the occasion was not particularly memorable. It was the host! He was fabulous! He taught me much!

His home was of course lovely, warm and inviting. His wife was smiling, serving her guests with grace. But it was Ken that I remember! I watched him make that gathering one of the best I've ever experienced.

He greeted each person at the door, called them by name and asked a personal question. How was the son doing? Had that person settled into their new home? Had the new car lived up to it's expectations? How was mom, was she adjusting to the new extended care facility? He KNEW something about each person attending! He'd actually done homework on such matters.

After inviting them in, making sure they were seated with a plate of food and a glass of something in their hands he moved on to the next guest. As the evening progressed I watched him take time to SIT next to each person there. He plopped right down and looked each on in the eye. Close up!

The questions started again. "Tell me about yourself" "What are you interested in these days?" "What do you like best about this town?" On and on it went. You could actually SEE each person light up as personal stories were shared. Laughter filled the air and smiles were everywhere.

I'm convinced it was NOT a "tool", not a "scheme", not just phony "chit chat". Ken was interested and those people responded.

And so I learned this: people need kindness. They NEED someone to show an interest in them, to ask about them, to acknowledge that they are important or at least recognized. They need someone to actually look them in the eye and inquire, "How are YOU?" Our host filled up the "value tank" of each person that evening.

As a result HE was greatly appreciated and loved. He is to this day one of the most respected and highly regarded men of that city. That one party was not a one time performance. Some would say he just exhibited good manners or exceptional hospitality. I think its more than that. His genuine interest in people was and is his lifestyle! He makes time for people always.

Our culture is steeped in self-absorption! The thought used to be "me first", now I truly believe, it is "me only". I can't begin to even guess why, how, or when this attitude became prevalent, but it is undeniably rampant.

It's evident on the highways, at the grocery stores lines, in marriages, in the board rooms and sadly at the family dinner table (IF the family ever sits at the dinner table!)

My best friend calls it selfishness. It is the heart that cries, "I want it my way, I want it now and I could care less about you." Unspoken sure, and most of the time denied but revealed by a critical spirit, a demand, or worse yet, silence.

I battle that type of self-centeredness and on those occasions when I win the battle I've been absolutely delighted to experience that old proverb "it truly is better to give than receive". A devotion to brighten another's day is a rip-roaring good time. Putting someone else first, thinking more highly of that other person than myself is a very rewarding way to live. It involves the death of "my way is the only way, my thinking is right and you are wrong", and "my schedule is of utmost importance".

I've witnessed Ken's type of openeness, selfless lifestyle in many others since that party and I greatly appreciate those people. I truly think they've got this thing called life worked out. People really are the most important things on this planet.

When you get right down to it, kindness is not all that difficult!

Maybe I'll try this on Honeybuns this evening!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Next week is the annual Forest Ridge Garage Sale! The whole neighborhood will be covered with bargain hunters and tired residents. It'll probably be the hottest day of the year as we all park our lawn chairs out on our driveways ready to greet potential customers. In past years folks from miles around have traveled to attend this big event.

I'm rummaging through closets today, trying to sort, toss out or tag. It is a depressing task. What was I thinking when I bought all this useless stuff anyway??

So far I've discovered electronic things that don't work, pillows that don't match, statues and pictures that I never did like, and dishes that need to go live with someone else. I don't know who invented garage sales, but this one forces me to look into drawers and cabinets that have been overstuffed for a while now. I applaud the person that decided that selling something for $.25 is a far better plan than dusting it.

What's the old line? My trash is someone Else's treasure. Hope that still holds true next Saturday. If not, the Goodwill Drop Box will get a new load.

I COULD be a pack rat if left unchecked. And Honeybuns is almost as bad. We both were influenced by his mother and my granny to never throw anything away that you MIGHT use one day. They were products of the depression when everything was saved, stored and valued. Their homes were filled. We have vowed many times to NOT let that happen.

My prized possessions are pictures, purses and plates! I have a closet dedicated to family pictures and it is full and overflowing. My bedroom closet has enough handbags and totes to "carry" me though the rest of my lifetime. And the china cupboard has seasonal dishes, ceramic animals, stemware and vases enough to entertain heads of state. Let's don't even talk about the books! I consider each one a trusted friend.

Then there is the garage!

Too many decisions! I have to remind myself that I've never missed anything that I've deemed "garage sale" inventory.

We all live in a land of too much useless stuff. I'm convinced that one day future archaeologists will be digging through the dirt and come to the conclusion that this extinct species called Americans was smothered into oblivion by "too much stuff".
Maybe this present downturn in the national economy will finally cure us all of the NEED to buy.

This annual garage sale has birthed my new motto. "Just because I like it, just because it's pretty, doesn't mean it should come home with me."

We'll see how that works!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


It's a Cadillac farm! Yep, just a few miles west of Amarillo, Texas is the location of this amazing treat for the eyeballs. Ten old Cadillacs are buried to half chassis in the dirt edging a wheat field right along the interstate highway. They are lined up like mysterious dominoes.

I wondered to myself if Cadillac seeds had been planted and this was the result. Our granddaughter thought someone had planted bumpers and then watered them carefully.

We happened upon this amazing sight last weekend on a road trip through that barren land. We pulled off the highway to get a closer look. Crowds had gathered with each person peering silently, at first stunned and then laughing with unbelief. The first question that came to every mind was undoubtedly, "Why?" Why would anyone spend time, energy and good money on such a project.

Thrown about the area were piles of colorful used up spray paint cans. It seems that the art work was a "work in progress" also, as onlookers became participants. One friendly woman handed me a can of paint with the suggestion, "go for it", it's fun!" So I initialed the side door of car #4.

Surely it's an art project designed as a joke. The creator must have had a great time with his friends when he first suggested such an exhibition. After the idea came the work itself of burying 10 old Cadillacs. Did he use a backhoe to dig those half-graves? Did one of those big car-carrier-trucks haul them into that field? Who helped? Was this a daylight project? Did he know that spectators would cover these prized autos with colorful graffiti? Who picks up the pile of empty spray paint cans?

Will generations to come look back on this as one of those Stonehenge mysteries, or perhaps tie it to crop circles?

There is no admission fee, no security system, no formal labels or museum docents in soft-souled shoes, just an old dirt road leading into a wheat field. This is truly art in the raw! There is no way that this artist would ever be considered as being too serious!

Perhaps that it's purpose! Comic relief. We surely need a little of that these days.
For a brief 15 minutes all concerns evaporated, highway boredom ceased and the strangers gathered smiled at each other. Imagine that!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Tiki joined the family last November. Jamie and son, Hays, traveled for days and spent countless hours meeting people, pleading, signing documents and praying for this little boy's release from his native land. He'd lived most all of his very young life in orphanages in Rwanda, Africa. His days were spent with other such boys, speaking only French, attended to by a group of dedicated nuns.

We're not real sure when he was born, he has no birth certificate, no blood relatives, no hospital picture. You see, if a child was delivered to the orphanage in winter his/her birthday was Jan. 1....if that small one arrived in the summer their birthday was assigned as June 1. It is the American drs. best guess that he "might" be 6 years old.

Tiki is a delightful little boy that we met for the first time last December in his new home in Durango, CO., a home he'd known for only about 4 weeks. We loved him immediately! At that time everyone and everything was brand new. He'd never had a mom, dad or FOUR siblings before. He had no idea of the concept of grandparents or extended family members. He did not understand that he could have more food anytime he wanted it, or that it was not necessary to "steal" from other peoples dinner plates. He explored, touched, tasted and held every new experience.

My greatest desire at that time was to climb into his little head and determine what he was thinking! He'd been plucked up from everything familiar and transported to the USA, it might as well have been to a faraway planet in a distant galaxy.

He'd never been to school before and had no idea that he was to sit down and stay in one room. He was mesmerized by football on TV, standing perfectly still while staring at the screen. (I wondered if he was pondering the game or how all those little people were crammed into that relatively small box!) He stared at and eventually ate our foreign-to-him food. He learned to enjoy the bathtub and the confines of the walls of his new house. Communication was difficult but overcome with big smiles and lots of hugs. His favorite "look" was sporting his sunglasses on his nose UPSIDE DOWN. And he learned that honey on biscuits was "very goooood".

This past weekend we visited Tiki again. Six months in America has changed this little guy forever. He speaks English very well now, colors WITHIN the lines beautifully, teases his siblings, dances with abandonment, and has become a ROCK STAR at his school. EVERYONE knows and loves Tiki.

He's still very busy, still likes to wear his sunglasses upside down and
now "pogos" on his new Pogo Stick, his birthday gift from BeBe and PaPa.

People often look at adopted children and remark, "he's so very lucky to have been adopted by your family" and my reply to them is "we're so very lucky we have him, he's teaching us so much."

We're still not sure where he came from or how old he is. We will probably never know or understand what all he experienced in his first years of life. We will never know his blood relatives or fill in the blanks of his family tree. And NONE of that matters. All that DOES matter is that he now belongs to THIS family, forever!