Thursday, July 20, 2017

SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES.....


Guy Lombardo, Canadian-American band leader from the 1930s on, wrote "Seems Like Old Times." It was a love song of its time--1946--when love affairs ended and all people were left with were memories.

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This post is not about a sad ending to a love affair. It's about wonderful remembrances that come around when I experience certain iconic phenomena. Such as:

A 1955 Ford 4-door hardtop convertible 

[The pictures I searched don't do it justice. Hardly any of them were 4-door and only one or two had the hardtop convertible feature; and those had only 2 doors. ]

This was my second car--the first was a '49 Ford that served me well for a couple of years before my dad got the itch to trade it in for this classic beauty. Mine was gold and black. Had dual carburetors and rattled windows all the way down 6th Street in my hometown.

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Any library, anywhere



This picture reminds me a lot of the one in my hometown, where I spent a lot of time from age 8, when I was allowed to receive a library card and take out two books at a time. During the summer, I walked to the library, checked out my two books, read one on the way home, and read the other one that night. Next day, back to the library. (Clearly, this is the beginning of my addiction to the written word--still reading in the 50-book challenge.)

Nowadays, I can take out an unlimited number of books--oddly, I almost never check out more than three at a time. I want to read them all before I return them.

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Carpenters working on houses



Any time I see a house being built, I think of my dad. He began building houses shortly before I was born, and continued as a builder until his death forty-some years later. In the early days, he did everything--dug the foundation, put in plumbing and electricity, installed a furnace, finished the house inside and outside. The only thing I know he never did was plaster the inside walls.

For many years, we never lived in a finished house because Dad built the house to a near-finished state and sold it, using the money he got to start another new house. In that way he was a practical man, as well as a creative one.

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Fresh-baked apple pie






My mother learned to make pie crust from her mother, my Grandma Jenkins. I don't recall that they used lattice, but this picture looked so delicious, I knew it was the best illustration for one of the juiciest memories I had growing up.

Mom never used green apples--Granny Smith hadn't invented them yet, apparently. Just thinking about Mom's pies makes my mouth water.

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These icons trigger strong happy memories for me . . . but they don't make me wish I still lived in the old times. For instance, I don't want to give up my car (going on 18 years old)--I'd miss power steering, power brakes, a/c and reliable heater, the magic of defrosting windows (front and back) at the touch of a finger on a button. Creature comforts have their appeal.

My childhood library had steps (similar to those in the picture)--nowadays I can still do steps, but I appreciate a hand rail. The library I patronize has a long L-shaped ramp, plus shallower steps (with handrails). There's even a button to push when I don't feel up to pulling open the heavy doors.

I do wish--if I could go back to old times, and if it were possible to have a do-over--I do wish my father had made a better end to his life--he died resigned to die; and to my knowledge never accepted death. I found that sad, especially as he and my stepmother had found a church home 20 years before his passing.

My mother's end-of-life experience was spent in a hospital for six months (this was in the 1950s, when that was possible). I saw her every day . . . she was lucid, interested in life (mine, the nurses', friends' and family's), and she sneaked a cigarette if she had a visitor. She could still laugh and smile, even as she lay dying. What a legacy to live into!

Memories make "old times" come alive for a few moments, or hours. They're where I visit, but never live. Memories show me how far I've come, how much I've learned; they make me smile at the young, naive girl I was, or shake my head in wonder at near misses.

No regrets here. Just memories of times long gone. Celebrate your memories. They're who you are, and why you are.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

SNIPPETS

So many happenings in the last couple of weeks that I decided to do short takes on several subjects.

[BTW--did you know several means "more than two or three, but not many; of an indefinitely small number"? Surprised me! I thought several meant more than four or five. And please don't ask what many means. Just look it up. You won't be much better informed, though, after you do.]

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Best news: My oldest and youngest daughters--from Arizona and Minnesota, respectively--came to visit last week. On Saturday my Ohio daughter (middle of the pack) came to my house and the four of us traveled about 20 minutes to a splash park for the 10th birthday party of a great-grandson of mine. The day was absolutely gorgeous: 75 degrees, sun, plenty of breeze. The kids played in the water and the adults (so-called) hung out in the pavilion (one of several--see above definition) and caught up on news. 

The rest of the out-of-towners' visit was spent in cooking, eating, shopping (not my gig), and watching great stuff on PBS.org and Netflix. We crammed in as much fun and talk as we could. When they left Monday at noon, my house felt very, very empty. 

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Although I've become a "weather-induced shut-in" (we're talking heat and humidity here), according to my youngest daughter, I manage to do my regular shopping for groceries and other necessities. Recently I decided one necessity was new fitness clothes for walking. She and I agreed that just wearing the uniform for the job makes us more excited about working out. (I consider walking "working out"--otherwise, I'd never work out.)

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Saddest news: Our local library sustained considerable damage by fire in a recent disaster. The fire was determined "intentional." Within a few days a suspect was in custody. The actual destruction occurred near the circulation desk, which includes all videos/DVDs/CDs; the rest of the three-story structure sustained smoke/soot and water damage. Much reconstruction required. And probably most of the books will have to be replaced.

The good thing is--the library has four buildings within a two block area: the main building, which was damaged; an annex, which houses the Bookmobile and storage for books, and provides adequate space for the monthly book sale by the Friends of the Library; a teen library (now in use as a place to pick up books on hold from Evergreen Indiana); and the genealogy center, which has some of the adult collection of books--items returned that were checked out before the time of the fire.

The big question is: Why? We may never know.

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To leave you with a happier thought, here's a healing quilt finished for a co-worker of my Ohio daughter.





Have a blessed week!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Some days, nothing seems to jell.

Thoughts start out with promise--I can blog about that!--then after a few sentences . . . nothing.

Or I'll get on a roll in my morning journal--one thing leads to another, ideas pour in, jostling each other to be heard, waving their arms and shouting, "Me! Me!" I write them down, I develop several of the ideas. And then . . . when it's time to grab that idea and tease it into shape, it turns fickle and won't cooperate.

So today's post will examine some random thoughts.

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I can tell you about my last three months of reading. April, May, and June were good reading months. 

     April: 14 books--3 non-fiction, the rest mysteries
     May: 20 books--2 non-fiction, the rest fiction
     June: 15 books--3 non-fiction, the rest mysteries

From those 49 books, I wrote down 20 words I needed to look up. Depressing. I thought (erroneously, as it turns out) that English majors, no matter how long ago they studied, would be nearly as word-savvy as, say, the 10th Merriam Webster. Not true, alas.

Some samples: anaglypta; exigent; moiety; megrims; exiguous; cynosure; glacis, rodomontade . . . .

These weren't from scientific tomes or technical works. They were from novels or non-fiction general reading. Honest.

Sadly, the context of the words I didn't know gave me no clues. 

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Here's a happier subject. I think.

I've been noticing how people greet each other. For instance:

"Hi, how are ya?" (casual)
"Hello, lovely to see you." (more formal, but friendly)
"How are things with you?" (interested, but not nosy)

Do you adjust your greeting for the greetee? I certainly do. My main circles are church groups, a few family get-togethers, and one-on-one visits with friends. Plenty of variety for various greetings.

For the flip side: How do you respond when people say, "How are you?"

"I'm well, thanks. How are things with you?"
"Could be worse."
"About half." (This one is reserved for only those closest to me. They expect honesty. And if I feel about half, I'll say so.)

The worst answer in the universe has to be, "I'm fine." But it certainly stops the asker from continuing a conversation about health, wealth, happiness, or anything in between. (Maybe that's the point.)

I learned about asking and answering questions about one's health from my relatives. My Aunt Dessie, who often had health problems, always answered, "I'm better, honey." I never heard her say she was well, or fine, or could be worse. Just, better. (She lived to be 94.)

Some answers reveal the person's emotional status: "I'd be great if my kids/dog/garden/truck/husband would just . . . ."

The one that wrings my heart, though, is the answer to my question about a friend's recent surgery.

     Me: How are you getting along now?
     Them: Pain level, on a scale of 1 to 10, is a 12!

Sorry I asked.

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Here's my last random thought for the day:

     This is July 6th. The year is definitely half over. 
     Remaining days before Christmas: 172.

The only reason this concerns me at all is that ideas about Christmas gifts have heretofore appeared early--usually during June and July. Some years I've seen gifts that were just right for someone in the family, and bought them before school started.

This year my idea bank is empty. 

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Hope you're having good summer reading, that your health is in top form, and you're not stressing about Christmas holidays yet.

Have a blessed week!