Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Weird Sandwiches

A debut author I've "met" on Twitter (Richard Jay Parker who wrote STOP ME, a thriller you can buy now) inspired me to write this post. I read his bio and it mentioned he lived on mustard sandwiches when he was a poor, aspirirng writer. Yes, just bread and mustard. What are some of the weird sandwich combinations you've tried? Here are a few: Bread, butter and sliced radishes (my mom's favorite) Chips and sliced pickles (put a pickle between two chips - my favorite) Peanut butter and sliced bananas (future son-in-law's favorite) Can you think of other strange combinations? Please share.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back-to-School Memoirs

Everyone knows I love six-word memoirs. Since it's back-to-school time, I thought it would be fun to share some of my school memories in that format. Before first day: Sleepless night, excitement. First grade: Same dress as friend. Cigar box: Pencils, eraser, crayons, protractor. Everyone was afraid of the principal. Climbed on bus. Sweaty palms. Excited. Played four-square at recess. Teeter-totter, too. Hair-in-bun, prim teacher took no bull. Loved English and spelling. Hated history. Fifth grade: Wore blue windowpane hose. Afraid to sing alone. Crouched, hid. Loved being a Kiltie. Drum captain. Please share some of your school memories--either as a kid or as a parent.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Grandmothers Are Great

As some of you know, my grandmother, Evelyn Jones, passed away Sunday. Her funeral was yesterday, and somehow, I mustered up enough courage to unexpectedly speak at the service. Mom and other family members were surprised but happy. I thought I'd share a few of my special memories here. Grandma was born July 21, 1921, when new houses cost $7000, new cars cost $400 and movie tickets were just 15 cents. She was married at the ripe old age of 17. (No wonder I always had the youngest grandparents!) She told us the story of how she saw a cute guy named Asa Monroe Jones (who later became Grandpa) at a gas station. She said she thought he was the “berries.” Their first date was Drop the Hanky at a church supper. After their courtship, they were married by a Justice of the Peace. Grandpa and Grandma lived and worked in Aurora most of their lives. Grandma worked as a cook--first at Franklin Elementary School, followed by Elliott Robinson Elementary and later at Cox Medical Centers. Grandma came out of retirement to serve as Head Cook at the Aurora Senior Citizen Center. The cooks made everything from scratch, and during Grandma’s tenure as head cook, the Senior Citizen Center had its biggest crowds in history. According to Grandma, the two most popular days of the week by far were Fried Chicken Day and Meatloaf Day! For those of you who may not know her well, here are some of her favorites: Favorite color: Pink Favorite term of endearment for her grandkids: Sugar Plum Favorite singer: Johnny Cash (especially the song, Walk the Line) Favorite bird: Hummingbird Favorite movie: Gone With the Wind Favorite TV show: Andy Griffith which she watched with great-granddaughter Amy Favorite flower: Roses Favorite entrĂ©e: Fried chicken or roast Favorite desserts: Pumpkin pie, carrot cake, banana pudding w/vanilla wafers Favorite pastimes: Crossword puzzles, reading romance novels or westerns, viewing cooking shows on television, and watching birds enjoying birdbaths or eating from their feeders Favorite soap: Dove. She never used anything else and had beautiful, smooth skin. Favorite attire: Housecoat (casual dress) She never wore pants. Last Wednesday after being at the nursing home several times the previous week, we decided to go to the fair for a light change of pace. I decided to switch purses so I’d have a long strap and found a purse that I hadn’t carried in years. Inside, was the Guardian Angel pin that Grandma had given me about ten years ago when Bob and I were dating and flying quite often. Grandma wanted me to wear it onto planes and I did. I thought I had lost that pin and had searched my jewelry boxes for years. I knew finding that pin was a sign. The next morning Mom got the call from Hospice that Grandma had 24-48 hours to live. She was a strong woman and lasted four difficult days. Now, that special pin is buried with her. I feel better knowing her Guardian Angel is right there. I shared several other stories yesterday but won't recount all of them here. Rest in peace, Grandma--Sugar Plum. We’ll always love you and will never forget you. xoxo

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fair Memories

The fair is in town which brings back nostalgic memories for me. As kids, we always looked forward to the fair. It was a big summer event right before the start of school. My parents would take my sister and me (my brother wasn't yet born) and we'd excitedly head to the fair. My Dad always wanted to visit the livestock first. BOR. ING. As a child, I complained and complained. "Mom, I want to go on the rides." Dad would be off staring at the cattle and I stood there like a brat with my arms crossed. After about thirty minutes and a few more complaints from me, my mother would say, "Jay, the kids want to go on the rides." He'd relinquish the animals and we'd head to the rides. Dad was great about going on the rides with us. Mom stood by, smiled and waved. He and I rode the roller coaster together and sometimes ended up in the front seat--exciting and thrilling. We'd ride the ferris wheel, merry-go-round, tilt-a-whirl, and go to the Duck Pond where there were sure-fire prizes. Then, we'd get hungry and go to the pork chop place (can never remember the name) because it was air-conditioned, albeit very small and crowded. Dad also knew the owner and would chat with him. I was always in a hurry to get out of there and back to the fun. After dinner, we'd play some of the games and Dad and I would shoot the water guns trying to raise the ball in the tube. Once I threw a ring around a Coke bottle atop a big square block. Amazingly, the ring went around the square block and I won a huge stuffed animal. We'd play games until it turned dark and then eat something very unhealthy like cotton candy, snow cones that dripped down our shirt or funnel cakes. It was grand. Toward the end of the evening, we'd look at the prize-winning produce since Dad is a great gardener. We also meandered around the entries of showcased art, photography and baked goods since my mom is a wonderful cook. We always visited the conservation booth to see more animals--usually a fox, deer and snakes. I haven't been to the fair in years but have a longing to go this week. I think I'll ask my dad if he wants to go and let him look at the livestock first for as long as he wants. I won't complain at all. Hopefully, Mom will join us too. How about you? What are your memories of the fair?