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Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

Bill and I live on top of a hill with a grand view of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. It is a steep 15 acre slope down which I call The South 40. The South 40 requires “bush hogging.” And when I began to see the forest primeval slowly encroaching I realized we were facing an upkeep challenge.

In the beginning we had two horses (Lucy and Martini). There was also Martini’s friend, Rossi, but he was too wild for us equestrian novices. We were told grazing horses would take care of keeping the grass/weeds down but that was “fake news.”

The horses did love grazing but the grass grew faster than they could chew and soon everything became weeds and trees in an overgrown pasture.

We decided to hire a bush hogger person to keep things trim. That was only successful off and on since not too many people have their own equipment who are willing to risk life and limb to clear our formidable hillside.

Finally Bill bought a John Deere – a big but not the biggest John Deere – so he could mow the slope himself. He had to go straight down to the bottom and then straight back up (no sideways trimming due to the danger of tipping over).

I had visions of Bill lying on the slope with the bush hogger machine on top! Twice a year Bill would do the slope and it would take him four or five days each time to complete the job and that long for me to worriedly chew my nails down too.

Note of interest: Bill was halfway up/down the slope when I ran out to tell him about the 9-11 Disaster. This should give you an idea of how long he has been dedicated to bushhogging our slope.

As Bill grew older – and older, and less interested in risking his own life and limb, a Miracle Man arrived. Dennis came from Texas and said he noticed many folks around here have steep slopes that need trimming. He then bought a special mower that allows him to mow across slopes instead of up and down.

Dennis named his new company Slope Goat!

Dennis the Slope Goat finishes mowing our South 40 in three to four hours instead of days. Now we are duly impressed and looking forward to retiring the big John Deere.

Lest I sound too cynical about our steep incline/decline, the slope has some desirable attributes:

  • There is an old forest and a gurgling stream at the bottom. This is great for horses since they must go down to the bottom to drink and come back up for food (lots of great exercise). The problem is, we outlived our horses who were 28 and 32 and had become longtime lawn ornaments grazing on our parklike slope. Our urge to ride slowly receded when it was too hot, too cold, too buggy or we didn’t feel quite like it.
  • The horses did look beautiful grazing though and our three grandgirls loved pony rides.
  • I used to take walks down to the bottom of the slope (but not for long since it’s a killer huffing and puffing back up).
  • When Elsa-the-dog was new and we turned her loose for the first time, she ran down to the bottom, back up, and down and up again. That was the first and last time she ever tried to make a break for it.

And here we sit, atop our hill. It is 30+ years later as we admire the ever-changing mountain view. But if we look down for a moment at the land, we can see all the way to where we know the stream is. And though we may be a bit too rickety to make our way down there nowadays, the memory is fond.

We smile because we are so happy to have found Slope Goat and hope that Dennis keeps at it through 2021.

Blue Ridge Beautiful

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No, I never was one to party on New Year’s Eve.

Not Anti-Social. I like people but not crowds. Perhaps this is an Advantage in the Time of Covid?

However, Bill and I remember many years of “partying” with good friends. And many years ago, in this rural area of Virginia where we settled for over 30 years, we made friends with a retired couple in Camelot. Except for 2020, we four had regular dinners together and rejoiced in differing opinions on most every topic. Mostly we loved sharing laughter.

And many years ago we created our own traditional New Year’s Eves together, following the same plan each year. We met around 6:00 PM, dined amid happy teasing conversation, and then returned to our place to watch a movie. And some of us were already yawning.

By 11:00 PM or sooner, we began checking up on Pete, who would begin snoring even if we had purchased a wildly exciting action film.

The snoring was Bill’s cue to gather glasses and champagne.

And the yearly agreement was this:

  • If we cannot make it to midnight, we will have champagne and wish each other well and our friends can go home.
  • If we do make it to midnight, then there will be something to tell the family about for the next year. “Guess what? We stayed awake until midnight!”
  • We rarely make it to midnight on New Year’s Eve, but we always create fond memories.

In favor of self shut downs and thanks to the threat of the Nasty Virus Covid for most of 2020, we will miss our two laughing friends this New Year’s Eve. At any rate, we forgot to get the champagne. But, at the stroke of midnight I know Bill and I will drift back together from our different movies in different rooms to wish each other good health and good luck in the coming year. And we will call or be called by our beautiful family. And if it’s not too late before midnight we will call our old pals here in Camelot!

I wish you well too, and even without champagne.

“Happy New Year my friends out there in Cyberspace. And Here’s to making and maintaining great connections!”

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It has been over 30 years since first we came to this bit of Camelot in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. There was nothing here but we camped out on the land and dreamed of the perfect house to shelter us right into old age.

A Home for Living

All on one level with an attached two car garage we have given thanks many times for the cover during rain or sleet or snow. It is a modest house designed by Bill, that has bent with the years to accommodate many changes. In the beginning my mother came to live with us for several years, then Bill’s sister moved to the area and spent every weekend here. My brother and Sister-in-law and kids came too, and long time friends returned and returned. Our son came early on, married, and then grandchildren arrived, and we had dogs and horses and a garden and we grew along with the landscape and we changed too along with the house that accommodated and sheltered us all.

There are rooms with a view, mostly of the Blue Ridge Mountains which really do look blue sometimes. Other rooms look out upon our green green world and what I call the Forest Primeval.

Bedrooms have their own thermostats for individual heat control in case we lose power. But there is a big wood stove which heats the house so efficiently that I sometimes have to open windows in the middle of a blizzard.

Even though I always see this home as almost perfect, we began some upgrades in 2018. A big change was the addition of a “Whole House Generator.” It is still hard to imagine we no longer need candles. Oddly enough I still have a major stash of jarred candles “just in case.” But the generator keeps working its magic and we haven’t had to use a candle yet (except to add romance of course).

In addition to the magical generator, we upgraded the kitchen with a quartz countertop that feels cool and looks so cool that I think I am working in a brand new place. I love the view of the mountains from the kitchen too.

Kitchen Before – Outdated Cabinets and Formica Countertop
Kitchen After – Counter is actually a Dove Grey

Nope, we do not wish to sell the house! And this is not a pre-prepared advertisement. I have simply run out of adventurous things to blog about, and my self imposed isolation means you get a little tour of Camelot. Also, between you and me, I am practising using the new WordPress block editor format. What do you think?

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Homeward Bound

Some eons ago, when I was a little girl my parents took us kids out for Sunday drives.  Those were always exciting times with donuts as the grand finale.

My parents are long gone, but some of those sweet memories resurface, especially since there has been ample time to reflect on past pleasures.

Nowadays Bill takes Elsa-the-dog and me for “rides in the car.”  I think he thinks we need a change of scene and he is so right.  These outings expand our world beyond the walls that bind us since Bill and I are among the most vulnerables to the Corona Virus.

Elsa gets beyond excited when we ask, “Wanna go for a ride in the car?”  She dashes back and forth barking and whining and eagerly jumps in.  But the sad thing is, Elsa does not know how to enjoy life as a dog.   She immediately hunkers down as if to hide from imminent danger, rarely looks out the window, and shakes and shivers with her head in my lap no matter where we may wander.

Because she is so frightened I ride in the back seat with her, and off we go, with Bill as the Chauffeur.

 Elsa does sit up but only if the car stops.  That gives her a window view of sorts with glimpses of an alien world fraught with terror.

  • Sometimes Bill stops at an ATM machine and when he gets out, Elsa goes mad with worry – crying and howling in despair that we have lost a pack member to the insane outside world
  • The parking lot of Walmart is always interesting too.  We went there to see if the GoodWill drop was still open (and it was).  Elsa began whining in anticipation of further pack loss, but we had not brought our donations and we all stuck together inside the relative safety of the car.
  • The Sheetz gas station is colorful too and very scary indeed.  Last time we were there a mask-less fellow was filling up next to us, right by my open window.  Suddenly he began yelling at a friend who was some distance away.  Being Covid-19- paranoid I feared I might contract the virus from his unmasked yelling vapors (so I held my breath)!  I wonder why the CDC has not recommended holding your breath as a preventative measure.
  • Another time we drove to Buena Vista (the nearest little town) and we saw whole families out walking with little kids skipping alongside. None of them were wearing masks either (not the parents, kids or dogs) but they were single family units out in the fresh air.  It was a heartwarming slice of Americana but maybe Elsa has the right idea about hunkering down and avoiding even looking out the window.
  • And our last ride in the car was around our own neighborhood where we saw a new neighbor’s house being built – a lovely A-frame log home atop a hill.

We are hoping Elsa will become accustomed to our outings and will some day enjoy the wind in her hair and the sights (other than a yelling man and an ATV machine) through the window.

In any case, I will remember these precious times, these spontaeous rides, these family/pack trips during a serious pandemic.  They were Bill’s idea for a change of scene that has now become a happy tradition.

How about you?

Wanna go for a ride in the car?

 

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wedding-day

Dor and Bill Wed

 

Today is our Anniversary!

Would you believe 61 years?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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neon signage

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

I like to say I am growing old instead of already old.  It gives me a better feel for how to feel when the most vulnerable population to the Covid-19 virus is touted as 60+ or 80+ or somewhere inbetween.

In any case, there always seem to be new rules about coping with this virus.  I know you are dying to hear them…. forgive the pun.  The world is coping but there are consistently more confusing theories about how the virus is spread and regulations regulating how we should lead our lives in the midst of what I call Viral Confusion.

For instance:

When I was a kid, you did not go to a doctor unless you were sick – maybe even really sick.  That seems to be the case now too.

2020 Pandemic Rules

Do not go to a doctor unless you feel sick.  And even then, call first to see if he/she will let you in.  Will this eventually even lead to doctors making house calls again?  When our son developed a very high fever, panic set in and we called the doctor who came to our house in 20 minutes, but by that time, the fever was gone.  And I don’t think the doc even charged for the visit!

Ah for the good old days.

Do not go to a dentist unless you have a bad toothache.   Dentists are just now reopening in my neck of the woods and I think they can be called for more mundance things like cleaning.  Check to be sure where you live.

But in the good old days, Mom would give me a clove to suck on or an ice cube – anything but the dentist – to cope with pain.  She was deathly afraid of dentists but finally when I was 14 and had a bad toothache, she made an appointment.  The dentist found one cavity for every year I had lived and I spent the next 14 weeks getting cavities filled (minus Novocaine!).  In those days you raised your hand if the pain was too bad.

Did I say I was growing old or already old?  Is pre-Novocaine ancient or what?

Ah for the good old days.

The new scary deadly virus has made me re-evaluate the wonders of staying home.  But what about positive changes?  Take clearer water.  They say you can see the fish in Venice canals now. I would love to take a gondola ride again but this time in clear water.

And now that there is more testing going on, some say if you are blood type O, you have a better chance of not catching the virus or maybe even surviving it.  Maybe I can go out sans mask and celebrate shoulder to shoulder in a crowd since I am in the O category.

Or if your ring finger is shorter or longer than the rest, you may or may not be in trouble re the virus.  I keep forgetting to size my ring finger.

And how about the urge to flush the toilet without putting the lid down?  Do you know how volatile the spray can be as you flush?!

Screaming spreads more virus than talking.  Talking may be the New Nasty Culprit that spreads the damned thing.

Disinfecting every surface on earth is no longer advised but don’t stop washing your hands.  You may have touched something evil.

All this speculation makes me wonder what people did in the real good old days of The Plague and Cholera.  The more I hear or read, the more I ponder this pandemic and all its pros and cons.

Stay Safe is the new Farewell, especially in our emerging “New Normal.”

Stay Safe my friends.

Stay Safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20200515_150329

It was just another visit from our son and three grandgirls.  That was way back in November.  It was prepademic you know.  And none of us had a clue about a virus that was to shut us all down and stop family visits from out of town.

We were all sitting around the kitchen table shoulder to shoulder and I remember telling them about the wonderful exotic tropical fruits that grew in my backyard when I was a little girl.  I lived in South Florida where we had avocado trees, bananas, oranges, kumquats, mangos and guavas.

We also had Sapodillas!

“What is THAT?” they asked.

“Oh, I haven’t tasted a Sapodilla since I was a little girl about 70 years ago,” I said.  “A Sapodilla looks exactly like a kiwi (but uglier) on the outside.  But on the inside the fruit is brownish and has the most beautiful shiny brown/black thumbnail sized seeds.  And the fruit tastes so sweet!”

All three girls sounded interested but we eventually moved on to other subjects.

Enter the Pandemic ShutDown and I haven’t seen my family since.

Can you guess what the three Grandgirls got me for Mother’s Day?

A beautiful box arrived in the mail and it was:

FIVE POUNDS OF SAPODILLAS!

I simply could not believe it.

“WOW!  WOW!  WOW!”  I said. “This is an amazing gift and how did they ever remember and how did they ever find it and what a precious thing that they thought of it and acted on it so many months later!”

And my first taste was like floating back back back to childhood.

There was my Dad again and I was just a little girl.  He was once more telling me not to eat the seeed and saying, “You will love this my little Gypsy.  It will taste just like honey.”

And it did.  And it does.

And it was the nicest gift ever because it was a gift of memories.   I only wish the Grandgirls had been here too, so I could have introduced them the same way as my Dad did.

Now every little bite of the five pounds is gone.  And only the memories linger.

And the smiles!

Note:  You will probably never see a sapodilla in the grocery store.  At least I haven’t in all my years.  The kids found them online.

Sapodilla (Sapota)

Sapodilla or sapota (chikoo) is a popular tropical fruit. Sapota is a tropical evergreen, fruit-bearing tree belongs to the family of Sapotaceae, in the genus: Manilkara. The fruit, popular as nasebrry, is a most relished tropical delicacy.

sapodilla
Sapota fruit cut section. Note for dark brown seed.

 

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Bushel Pillow

When the grandgirls were little and came for a visit I remember singing to them.  I tucked them in at night to Mr. Sandman, recorded in 1954 by the Chordettes.  And there was the popular song from the 50’s sung by Doris Day,  A Bushel and a Peck, a happy piece from my own youth.  My best friend Kit and I actually made a recording of us singing, “I love you, a bushel and a peck, You bet your purdy neck I do!” They used to have booths in the old days where for a quarter you could have your picture taken and even make a recording!  The little record we made disappeared over the years, but the song still makes me smile.

Then all of a sudden I was a Grandmother who loved to make her grandgirls laugh.  They knew and I knew Grammy really could not carry a tune so there was always a lot of giggling going on.

My grandgirls are all grown up now and the tucking in days are over.  But last year for my birthday they came bearing a special gift – a pillow!

But it is not just any old pillow.

This one is a pillow full of memories!

And it has a home in the “kids’ room” where we sang those happy songs.  I love the memories of the laughter and the love, and I am so glad my grandgirls remember too.

And Kit, if you are reading this, “Thanks for the memories”!

Published in 2016 by Okmusix

 

 

 

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Like New Cars

Was this a Precursor of Today’s Used Car Lots?

I was driving to Staunton, Virginia (pronounced “Standtin” by the locals) on what was once a major north-south highway now displaced by the Interstate.

This stretch of U.S. Route 11 (known as Lee Highway here) is a country road now that slows for thriving little towns and interesting stops along the way, with farms and barns and majestic mountain views.

But what I love most is to see the remnants of a bygone era – abandoned gas stations, diners, pre-chain motels, and other businesses I actually recall as they were in their “haydays” in the 1950’s.

There are crumbling buildings as timeworn as I sometimes feel.    

Surely they have stories to tell of lives and lifetimes.

Would that we could get close enough

and remain still long enough to hear the echoes of the past.

 

 

 

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Flowers 60th

Flowers from our friends of 56 years – Janet, Pam, Deb, and Scott – Thank you!

It was a very good year.

It was when I met Bill.

I told my Mom I had finally met a real “man” because Bill was all of 21.

My Dad didn’t like him.

We were married anyway, three years later.

Today is another anniversary.

Today we have been married 60 years!

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