Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day

Coming home tonight the traffic was a mess...even worse than usual.  I realized it was a Friday, but it was even worse than your normal run of the mill rush hour Friday traffic, and then I remembered, oh yes, it's Memorial Day.

What do you do on Memorial Day?  Do you take a trip, go hiking, have a barbeque, water ski, etc. etc.?  Now please don't misunderstand, those activities are all worthwhile especially when you share them with family or close friends.

In my family Memorial Day was to members, soldiers that my Papa fought and died with in World War II, any that had passed into the next part of our eternal journey.  We would spend Memorial Day weekend going to pretty much every cemetary between Kaysville, UT, and Archer, ID.  OK, that's an exaggeration but when I was REALLY young it seemed that way.  Actually there were only five cemetaries that we went too almost every year.

Now this is the part that may seem strange for some people to understand, we had SO MUCH FUN!  Mama would fill the trunk with beautiful flowers that she cut from our garden.  They would be in giant cans filled with water.  (In later years we bought silks, not as messy).  The fresh flowers smelled MUCH BETTER!

We would pack HEAVY...well at least my Mama.  I seriously think she planned for EVERY eventuality!  Hey, we could break down somewhere rural, and then we'd REALLY need a blanket in May, right?  I often thought that if I dug down into Mom's suitcase, and boxes, and boxes I would most assuredly find the kitchen sink, nestled safely.  On the other hand, when I was eight and we WERE in a car wreck, and the other car needed padding to stop bleeding, you guessed it, MY MAMA WAS PREPARED!

In the car we would take turns singing.  My beloved Papa used to say that our family didn't always sing WELL, but we did sing LOUD!  Hey, the scripture says, "Make a joyful NOISE..."  We would each take a turn and choose a song to sing.  One of my very favorites was "Old Grumbler is dead and laid under the ground."  Pretty good subject matter for Memorial Day weekend.

We also played a festive game called "Beaver."  To this moment I have NO idea why it was called that.  It had NOTHING to do with Beaver's.  It involved looking for certain items on a long list, such as a school bus filled with children (on Memorial Day weekend that one was pretty scarce!)  If you were blessed enough to find a white horse or a privy with the door open you got to shout out BEAVER, and you WON immediately.  Thank heavens they had more privies back then, with more open doors.  Now if you can even find a privy the door is probably warped shut!

So, part of the fun was having Mama and Papa talk about the ancestors that we were visiting.  My great-grandpa, Mayor of Brigham City, and his lovely wife.  My little brother who died during birth.  (He was beautiful, perfect, but the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck). 

When we arrived at Archer, our final destination we would usually be there on Memorial Day itself.  That was on purpose because if you landed there on Memorial Day it was better than a family reunion.  I believe Papa was related to most of the people in that quaint little cemetary.  I say it was better than a family reunion because I could go sit in the car and read if I got bored listening to adults chatting about this, that, and the other.  (Reunions I was expected to stay, and listen, even when the discussion was BORING.)

This year is very tender for me.  My beloved husband has joined the ranks of those we remember.  He passed away in January of this year.  Yet, he will never really pass away, not from the memories of those blessed enough to know and love him. 

This year, I will no longer traverse the road between Kaysville, and Archer, but I WILL travel far in my memories, remembering, remembering, and treasuring all those that I have loved long since but lost awhile.  I will remember them all with joy and gratitude for their influence in my life.  Even great-grandpa Blackburn (the mayor) that I never met in this life. His example of strength in the face of adversity continues to inspire me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother the 5 Star General

I would seriously love to hear how many people in the world can say, "My Mother is a five star general." Now I DO say this in the boastful way that we had as children. Competition was a minute to minute experience all the way through school. Our Dad's were the biggest, meanest, strongest, best football player, sweetest, MOSTEST OF ANYTHING Dad's.

It seemed to me that the "Motherly" competition was a little more difficult to grade. "My Mother makes the best cookies!" " My Mother plays football." (The last competitive comment was undoubtedly made by a boy who didn't realize that Mother's competition scale should have been vastly different from the Father's scale.

I did NOT take opportunity back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth in my childhood. ( OK, maybe it wasn't dinosaurs but simply a chameleon that my Brother called Sally the Salamander....but to my children, and great-nephews and nieces I am practically paleolithic!) to brag about MY Mother who was a five star general and working her way to becoming a SIX star general!

No, Mama was not a member of the military. Her contribution to the War effort of World War II was to send her beloved fiance away to fight, not knowing if he would return at the end of the war. I will always think that this contribution was AMAZING!

Mama DID work for ZCMI Department store in downtown SLC. Wise marketers at ZCMI, recognized an opportunity when they saw one. They built a kiosk in front of the store. Then they put one of their prettiest young women in that kiosk to sell war bonds. I think they realized that those bonds would practically sell themselves...not to take away from my Mama's contribution with her loving, sweet, happy, positive personality. (Did I mention that she was GORGEOUS?)

So....a tribute to my Mama. At 93 years of age she's still GORGEOUS! Better yet, she's still a fiery general, waging a daily battle against the rigors of old age.

I would LOVE to hear a tribute about your Mama...Anyone, anyone?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rainy days and Thursdays?

Karen Carpenter and her brother Richard made a terrific song back in the 70's/80's called Rainy days and Mondays. She sang that they "Always get me down."

Well today is a "Rainy Day," but it's not a Monday it's a Thursday. First of all, my beloved husband of 26 years is dead. 2nd of all our finances are chaotic to say the least. 3rd of all every one of our family is currently dealing with some health "issue." I would like to simply say that happiness is a choice, I will CHOOSE to be happy, and end this depressing entry....EXCEPT. Except as bland as it sounds "Happiness is a choice." It's true. It's NOT easy to make that choice IN SPITE OF...whatever struggle is in your world right now.

I'm writing this little post to convince myself that choosing happiness IN SPITE OF is a good thing to do. In my sweetheart's words, "Happy not crappy!" He believed that we could choose to be happy in spite of all the obstacles that life throws our way.

I haven't convinced myself yet. Anybody else out there struggling with this idea? I'm struggling, but I will NEVER give up. I think that is part of the mystery of being successful in this life, and in forever as you may believe an "eternity." Sometimes we may feel that "Rainy Days and Monday's" sense of life, and that's normal and OK. What's NOT OK is to give those blues a permanent space in your life.

I KNOW that Nyle would not wish to be remembered with sorrow and tears. Just as he lived his life with laughter and joy he would wish to be remembered. The most important thing is that he IS remembered. I find joy in recalling the twenty-six years of life that we shared together.

I have put a picture of my honeybunch next to my bed that was taken about the first time that I ever saw him. HUBBA HUBBA! He was handsome then....and handsome to the day he died.

Looking at this picture reminds me that he loves me, and I love him.  I'm grateful to know that death
does NOT end love.  Love is power...power that grows and goes beyond death.

Women of the Drifting Anchor Ranch first book is published, Beth Women of the Drifting Anchor Ranch. 
It's beyond exciting for me to hold my book in my hands and think of the
journey that led to this goal.

Please read my blog at to learn fun recipes,
patterns for knitting and sewing that would have been made in the 1800's.  Many
things in this world have changed in the last couple of centuries, but a few things
NEVER change.  One thing that NEVER changes is the attraction to delicious

It makes me very happy that we no longer cook over either an open fire or
a wood stove.  My beloved Grandmother remembered cooking on a wood
stove.  She said that it was very difficult to get the temperature consistent
each time that you cooked. 

I remember that as I joyfully cook on my beautiful gas range.