Saturday, May 31, 2008

Grandma's Porch

I haven’t written anything for awhile as outdoor activities have taken me away from the computer. I’ve been busy mowing, planting and just maintaining the garden, yard and flowers. As I have been working outside and planting flowers, and then beginning to see the results of my labors as my flowers bloom I am reminded of one of my favorite childhood memories.

My Grandmother Horack (my Dad's mother) had a small house with a front porch that faced the east. She had a porch swing which was strategically located so that we could use our feet to push off the porch railing and swing really high. We would spend hours out there swinging, drinking Pepsi, and eating Oreo cookies. We would listen to the conversations when her neighbors, Mrs. Martini and Mrs. Lowry would come out in the cool of the evening and sit on her porch with her and visit. I don’t remember what the grownups talked about, but I do remember the Pepsi, Oreo’s, and Grandma’s flowers. Grandma grew beautiful flowers, all kinds all over her yard. Peony’s with blossoms as big as dinner plates that she would cut early, keep in the refrigerator and use to decorate the graves on Memorial Day, (that is a whole other story). She had hollyhocks in the back yard so tall I had to look up to see the top. But the one I remember as really standing out was the beautiful “Pauls Scarlet” climbing rose that grew up the trellis at the south end of her porch. It grew up from the ground to the roof of the porch which meant it shaded the entire porch. In among this curtain of red roses, unnoticed until they bloomed, were the deep dark purple blooms of a Clematis vine; a striking combination. As a very young child, I thought my Grandma was truly wonderful to have such a pretty bush that would bloom two different kinds of flowers.
I don’t have a “porch” per say, we have a deck. I’ve been planting flowers, filling pots with plants of wave petunias, verbenia, pots full of impatience, and begonias that later this summer will spill blossoms over onto my deck and make me feel as if I am sitting in a garden, when in actuality I am sitting on a deck in the middle of a pasture. Our deck is an “outdoor room”. It is covered with a pergola that has wisteria growing over the top. This year it bloomed for the first time, long fragrant lavender blooms that attracted hummingbirds, and bumble bees.
Springtime was, quite literally, right out our back door. Roger loved it, and the smell was better than anything you will ever find in a bottle. I have Clematis too, growing up the trellis in the middle and on each end of the deck, and they are beautiful when they are full of blooms.
Like my Grandma's porch it is a wonderful place to sit, and chat, or in the mornings, a quiet place to take your coffee and go sit and watch the sun come up. We have a table and chairs out there, so if you feel like filling your plate and going out there to eat, that is good too.
It is a gathering place of sorts. I find people gathering there when I have a house full of guests. They take their drinks and migrate to the comfortable seating outside surrounded by the flowers and canopied with the green of the vines. I find the same kind of contentment sitting in my "garden room" as I did swinging on Grandma's porch.
Nothing tells winter goodbye like brightly colored flowers, the smell of new mown grass, and a tall glass of iced tea while you sit on the "porch".

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Favorite People

This is a picture of my nieces and nephews, and my own kids taken on the day of Mothers funeral. These are also some VERY important people in my life, and I am so proud of each and every one of them. They are a fun bunch of kids,(we have Audrey and Ryan's wedding as proof) and great people. The picture wouldn't do them justice in my "Favorite People" column, so I thought I'd highlight them here. They all mean the world to me, I was in Jr.High when they started coming into the world, and I got to play with them, spoil them, and enjoy them..........I love them!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mothers Day without Mother

Mother, Grandma Amy Wolf (mothers Mother), Myself holding Audrey, 1982

When Mother died, a good friend of mine said, “Mothers Day will be terrible, my first Mother’s Day without my mother snuck up on me and was absolutely terrible, be prepared.” Well, it has come and gone. Yes, I missed my mother. I missed the reason for having a family get together here at my house, and hosting another holiday.

Our house became celebration and holiday central after the folks moved to Emporia. Something I really liked. I got to have everyone at my house, play hostess, celebrate and throw parties, and relish the time together. That is going to be the hardest part of the holidays and celebrations, this coming year at least.

We have been hosting Easter dinner with all the family who lived close enough to attend since before Mother and Paul moved to Emporia. Everyone who could would come for church first, then out to our house for Easter dinner, and then, when the kids were little, an Easter Egg hunt, weather permitting. At Mothers funeral, my eldest niece, RaDawnna talked about roasting lamb for Easter dinner. I joked that if she did, I’d come down to try it (they live in Houston), and the invitation was given and accepted on the spot. This year Roger and I went to Houston, and Nic flew in from Phoenix. We had a great time, and she talked about starting a new tradition of “Easter in Houston”?!?! We’ll see.

Another niece, Casie, upon finding out that Aunt Andrea and Uncle Roger were going to be “alone” this Mothers Day, (Audrey is still working outage, and Nic is, of course, in Phoenix), had invited us to their home, “about an hour and some change” away for Mothers Day Lunch. We were able to go, and it was a wonderful time, and great to have a “different kind of holiday”.

Actually, I face the absence of my Mother every day. It is just when all the family is around, at holiday times and celebrations that the vacant spot is so noticeable. Eventually there will be a holiday that I will have to face without my Mother present. She played a big part at holiday and celebration times because she set a standard of how to do it, and then enjoyed watching we girls take over as she passed the mantle to us.

As I sat at Casie’s table yesterday eating a delicious meal in her beautiful home, and look at the pictures I took of RaDawnna’s festive Easter table, with Easter linens, and decorations, where everyone got a chocolate bunny, I realize that Mother is still with us. The traditions she instilled in we girls, that we have taught our girls are coming out, and showing up in so many details. We now have the joy of watching our girls pick up this mantle and carry on traditions, and start new ones. So in one sense, I haven’t had to celebrate a holiday totally without my mother. She was there in all the wonderful touches in my nieces’ homes and holiday celebrations. She taught us many things about hospitality, hosting parties, celebrating Mothers, and honoring our elders. Isn’t that what Mothers Day is really all about?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Life with Lily

Messes on the floor? Check!
Cutting Teeth? Check!
Rowdy, rambunctious play? Check!
Toys under foot? Check!
Nap times? Check!
Feedings? Check!

No it’s not a toddler, it’s Lily!

Over the last couple of weeks, I am seeing many similarities to the days of small children in the house, and having a small puppy in the house. I just wish I had been blessed with the wisdom and patience when my children were toddlers, which I seem to have more of now with this dog. Perhaps this is Gods gracious way of training me for grandkids.
I don’t find it difficult to stop what I thought needed to be done to sit down on the floor and play with Lily till she is worn out, and needs a nap. I don’t’ find it difficult to take her outside to teach her what needs to be DONE outside. I don’t mind the toys under foot, as they keep her from chewing on the furniture.
I’m not so surprised by the work involved of caring for a puppy, as I am by my reaction to it. She is fun and sweet and makes me laugh. Today she fell off the deck. Just got to going too fast, wasn’t watching what was out in front of her, and walked right off the deck. Fortunately it was only a foot off the ground, and when she recovered she sat there and looked around like she was making sure no one saw. I did. I was in the house, laughing so hard the tears ran and I had to sit down.
I told a friend last week at church that we had just got a puppy, and she acted like I was crazy for doing such a thing “at this time in my life”. I just grinned and told her I was having fun….she has no idea!