Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Present

Bear with me as I re-post from last Valentine's Day.

I rarely get a Valentine's card from my hubby...but he always changes the oil in my car.

He rarely buys me candy either...but he always saves the last Twizzler in the package for me.

I do not remember him buying me many cut flowers...but he digs the holes to plant my azaleas.

He does not take me out to eat much...but he never complains if we have scrambled eggs for supper.

We do not vacation together very often...but he will travel anywhere I am to change a flat tire on my car.

He sometimes tracks mud in on my clean floors...but he takes his boots off every night at my house.

Aunt Dorcas

I was thinking of Valentine's Day gifts today and wondered whether Uncle Howard bought romantic gifts for Aunt Dorcas. If he did, she did not tell me about them. 

He used to go to the corner store every morning to buy her a six ounce bottle of cold Coca Cola. I remember Dorcas was crazy about him.

Uncle Howard dated the Mother of one of my high school friends. I won't say who...just in case.

Aunt Dorcas and Aunt Lizzy shared the same anniversary date. It was not planned that way but the two couples often went out to eat for their anniversary.

She and Uncle Howard came to spend the night with us when we lived in Flat Rock. They chose the bedroom with just a twin bed. She said they liked to sleep close.

It was a big family joke that when Howard came to visit he brought his chain saw and cut back all of Grandma's trees. We wondered if they would survive each new cut.

They camped at Piney Bay every summer. Before they paved the road to Piney Bay, Daddy stopped to let us pick up a little black kitten that had been abandoned in the middle of the road.

Howard put the poor little kitten in the shallow water of Piney Bay to watch it swim to shore. It made me mad but he just laughed. He was a joker.

Anthony had to take off his artificial limbs to swim. He swam like a fish. I do not remember Jimmy going out to Piney Bay with them. Maybe they did not go until after he died.

When our oldest grandaughter was three or four years old, we took her with us to visit them there. Howard got a kick out of her standing beside the dock directing a stranger to "turn it a little to the left" as he was backing his boat into the bay. She is bossy like her Nana.

I expect as I get older I will begin to look more and more like Dorcas. We both shared what we refer to as "the Middleton hips." She had a grey streak of hair at her temple ever since she was a teenager. My son does too.

Well, I have just thought myself into missing her all over again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Arkansas River Pelicans

The pelicans have returned to the Arkansas River. I don't know where they are wintering here from.

Photo courtesy of 123fotography
The pelicans line up along a sand bar between our bank of the river and Goose Island. I don't have a camera that will capture a good image so I am using a photo my cousin took of the pelicans up river from our place.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chicken and Spinach

My daughter Laura and my niece Debbie attended the same day care when they were 3 and 4 years old respectively.

As with most day cares, they served nutritionally balanced lunches that many of the children did not like. 

Jody, Debbie, Jason, and Laura

I learned years later that my niece would eat my daughter's spinach so she could have a second helping of chicken.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Just Dance

My youngest grandaughter was recently grounded from television and all electronic devices.

When I asked her what she did all day her response was, "Oh, I just dance."

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Blake's Hook Shot

I know I have not been blogging lately so have no right to be bragging but.......I wanted to tell you about my grandson's budding basketball career.

You remember Blake, don't you? He and I share the same birthday and sometimes vacation together.

Ten year old Blake began playing basketball last year but broke his arm on Thanksgiving and had to sit the season out. 

This year's season just completed with his team undefeated. Blake is small but very quick and able to steal the ball quite well from the bigger boys.

He rarely shoots the ball but did make a fantastic hook shot that one of the parents captured on video.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Aprons and Raw Cow's Milk

This is an apron Grandma gave me when I first married.  I'm not sure whether she actually wore it or made it especially for me. 

While I hate to admit I rarely wore it, all of my grandchildren have wrapped it around themselves when we baked cookies - even my grandson.

I remember watching from a rusty metal gate overgrown with orange trumpet vines as Grandma carried two heavy buckets of frothy warm milk toward the shingle sided house. Escaping the tightly braided knot at the nape of her neck, one long wispy tendril of Cherokee Indian black hair trailed around the thin earpiece of her wire rimmed glasses.

An ever present bib style apron covered her plain cotton shirtwaist dress. The apron was as white as the milk in the buckets and had been laundered so often she could have easily used it to strain both buckets full of milk.

As she stepped inside the too warm kitchen, she kicked off the black rubber boots she wore to the milking shed and slipped into her soft leather work shoes.

Placing the galvanized pails on the Formica covered yellow table, she removed the soiled apron to replace it with a clean, crisply starched, and equally white one.

Her everyday aprons had a front panel of pockets she had sewn on to hold the odds and ends she collected as she tackled her daily chores. She tied the sash with a big bow that hung limply at her waist. A row of various sized safety pins adorned the bodice.

After washing her hands at the wash stand by the door and drying them with the hem of her apron, she reached into the drawer beside the oven for the scraps of cheesecloth she needed to strain the milk. The lukewarm liquid spilled over the lip of the pail through the cloth sieve and splashed into the white porcelain milk jug.

 She mopped a few splatters from the table and quickly mixed yellow cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt together in a wheat patterned Pyrex mixing bowl.  A cup full of the cream rich milk and two eggs were briskly beaten into the batter before she used the tail of her apron as a pot holder to pull the hot grease seasoned iron skillet from the oven. The cornbread batter sizzled as it hit the pan and she used her apron once more to slide the skillet back into the oven.

My Fire King and Pyrex collection
Taking a green-handled ladle, Grandma scooped generous portions of the all day simmered pinto beans into thick Fire King bowls and carefully placed a plateful in front of me. She took the hot cornbread from the oven and quickly flipped it onto a plate, exposing the brown crusted underside.

After Grandpa asked the blessing, Grandma poured the fresh milk into large glasses and asked if I wanted a glass. Although I thought the raw milk smelled like the brown faced Guernsey it had just come from, I tried a small sip.

It didn't taste like the cold, glass bottled, and pasteurized milk I was accustomed to drinking. That one sip was all I was able to get down.

I drank water with my beans and cornbread that night.