Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mom was born on Saturday, two days after Thanksgiving, 86 years ago. Her mother, having never experienced labor pains, thought the discomfort she felt was from turnips she’d eaten a few days before.

With her birthday falling so close to Thanksgiving, and with us all gathered at her house for the Thanksgiving meal, it’s been traditional to celebrate her birthday as part of our thanks giving.

What better time to celebrate her life and her legacy than on the day when we offer thanks for so much and for the many blessings so evident in our lives!

What a blessing Mom is to me, to my family – to her family and friends.

I love you, Mom.  Happy birthday!  Thank you for blessing me, not only with life, but with love and laughter and with the day to day living that means so much to me.

Thank you, God, for the blessing of my mother.

Happy birthday, Mom!

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Tattle Tale

“Go out and see what your brother is doing.”

That’s what my 85 year old mother said to me after my 50+ Brother left the Sunday dinner table.

So, I headed in the direction I’d seen him go and called back to her, “do you want me to come back and tell you?”

“Yes,” was her answer.

I knew where he’d gone and so did she.  And, she also knew what he would be doing.

Several branches had fallen across the roof of an outbuilding in her backyard and she had asked him to see what he thought about it.

I exited the back door to find Brother and Hubby busy removing the branches and dragging them to the road.

To Brother I said, “I’m here to be a tattle-tale. Momma said ‘go see what your brother’s doing and report back to me.'”

Brother chuckled.

I’ve no idea what thoughts or images passed through his mind.  I was too busy dealing with those that passed through my own.

I was a tattle tale.  For some reason I took it upon myself to see that other people did right.  And, when they didn’t, I told on them. Yes, I tattled.

“I’m going to tell” came out of my mouth more often that I care to remember or admit.

And, when others said the same words, I sang, “Tattle tale, tattle tale, hang your britches on a nail…go tell your mama.”

I’ve always wondered why I tattled.

I know why – it deflected wrong I’d done, made me look better than others, put me in a favored position, it seemed to please adults, it showed my obedience and conformity.

But, I didn’t know why…why I began doing so. And why I tattled only on my peers and those younger than I and never on those older than I…like teens and adults.

Mom’s words “go see” and “come tell” provided insight and opportunity.

Now…to figure out what to do and how to do – and what changes I’d like to bring about in me.

What about you?  What do you do with insights – do they become opportunities for change?

Momma’s New Cellphone

On a whim, Mom called Bell South to order a new phone book.

(She didn’t receive a new one last year and had called twice about it and each time was told they would get one out to her, but didn’t.)

As she talked with the Bell South rep, she felt at ease. The rep was nice and accommodating.  Mom felt comfortable with her.

The rep pulled up Mom’s account and inquired about cellphone usage.  Mom shared that she had one, but with a different carrier.  When asked for details, Mom provided.  The rep assured her she could offer her a better plan for less money and a new phone with bells and whistles.

Mom confided her age to the rep and expressed concern about a phone with more than just numbers to punch.  The rep assured her there was nothing to worry about and that she would select a phone that would be just right for her.

It would be a “smartphone” but one she could see and learn to operate without any problem.

I learned all of this when I arrived at her house for my daily dose of Dr. Phil and cup of coffee.

It was amusing to listen to her and I wished I’d been there to hear the conversation.

She had taken notes…had written EVERYTHING down, as is her custom.

I asked what type phone she would receive.  She didn’t know…just knew it would be smart and that it would arrive within 7 days.

It arrived within 3.  I was not there when it arrived, but learned of its arrival soon thereafter when she called to say it had come…she had opened it…it was red and red was a good color for her.

A phone in her favorite color – and a smart one to boot.

I asked what type phone it was and she didn’t know.  All she knew was the color, that it was “smart”, and that it had a keypad, but she didn’t know where that was or what it was. The instructions that came with it were too small for her to read, but she did make out the word “keypad.”

When I suggested she plug it in and let it charge, she balked.  Then, I remembered my own confusion upon receiving a new phone and attempting to figure out how to do even the most simple of tasks with it…like plugging it in.

Her excitement was infectious and I found myself eager to check out the phone and get it up and running for her. And, her up and running with it.

The next day found me tinkering with her phone, reading the instructions (and yes, eventually following them).  Once it was set up and connected, I placed her favorite phone numbers and information into the phone and handed it to her.

At first, she was shy…afraid she would break it.

I assured her that was not going to happen, and if she managed to change a setting, I could go back in and fix it (and if I couldn’t Hubby could).

She fiddled with it a bit and I showed her how to place a call and receive one. She assured me that was all she wanted to know about the phone, so we settled back to watch Dr. Phil.

A few days later, I found myself at Mom’s house for several hours and had taken my new laptop with me (I don’t have internet access at Mom’s but I can work offline. My old laptop wasn’t mobile.  It has…issues…can’t close the lid or use it without the power cord attached or move the power cord….).

As I sat watching the Atlanta Braves attempt to play ball, I sat beside Mom with my laptop on my knees.

Mom watched me for a few minutes and then got up and walked out of the room.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“To get my new phone,” she said.

For over an hour she sat and fiddled with her new red smartphone, punching buttons, swiping the screen, placing calls, attempting texts.  I was so proud of her!

And, then I heard her phone beep.  She jumped as if she had been shocked.  Then she said, “It says I received a text message and wants to know if I want to read it…do I?”

I assured her she did and to just press the “ok” button on the touch screen. She did.

Then she said, “It says I just purchased something called a tome for $2.99.  How did I do that? And, what did I just buy?”

I had no idea how she would manage to purchase a large book (tome) with her smartphone.  I asked what she had done just prior to receiving the text.

She said, “I punched the button with the music thing on it.”

Ah…. Perhaps it said “tone” and not tome.  That made more sense to me.

With her phone in hand, I looked for her new purchase, but didn’t find any indication of it apart from the text. And, I looked to see what else she might have purchased.

When I told her that she had apparently purchased a new ring tone for $2.99, she said, “I can purchase things with that smart phone? How can I do that? I don’t want to purchase anything!”

I told her she purchased it by going online.

“I went ONLINE? With that smart phone? I can go ONLINE?? I don’t want to go online, not if it’s going to cost me.  I don’t have any reason to go online, do I?” was her response.

After showing her how to avoid going online in the future, I showed her how to take pictures. She took several and then moved on to exploring other functions of the phone.

As she played with the phone, she apparently clicked the camera button again and saw a live image come up on her phone.

“I see a foot on my phone. Who’s foot is that?” she asked.

I looked over to see her looking intently at her phone.  It was her own foot she was seeing and I told her so.

“Oh,” she said as she wiggled her toes.  “Can I take a picture of it?”

“Yes,” I said, and reminded her how.

I also showed her how to take short videos with her smartphone and told her to say or do something.

I recorded her and played it back – several times.  She laughed until I thought she would cry.  I laughed, too.

It was funny.  It was entertaining.  It was hilarious.

“So I can take videos with my new smart phone, huh? Hmm, do people know I’m doing it when I do?” she asked.

“No, they don’t know what you’re doing unless you tell them,” I offered.

She smiled.  “Ok,” was all she said.

Look out world!  If you see Mom with a red smartphone in her hands, run the other way!!

Grown Up Relationships

I woke this morning at 6:42.

At 6:40 Daughter leaves the house for work.

I’d missed talking with her before she left for work.  I’d missed telling her goodbye.

The house was dark and quiet.

I ran for the front door and found it locked.  She was no longer in the house and when I glanced out the window, I didn’t see her car beside Hubby’s.

She was gone and I had missed an opportunity to spend a few minutes with her before she left for the day.

I threw open the door, hoping to see that she had not yet left.

And, there she was, backing the car into the road.

“She won’t know I got up to see her off,” I thought.  “I won’t get to see her smile before she leaves.”

I stood ready.

The habit is – she backs out into the street, puts the car in drive and as she pulls even with our front door, turns and looks my way and waves.

Would she do so if she thought I was not waiting at the front door?  I wondered and hoped she would.

With hand raised, I watched. Daughter turned and glanced my way.  I waved like a crazy woman.  She smiled and threw up her hand in a goodbye wave.

My mind captured the image of her in that moment and I smile now thinking of it.

I love my daughter as only a mother can love.  And, I find myself understanding my own mother a bit better these days.  I am truly blessed – my daughter has become my friend, and so has my mother.

What of my son? Ah, I love my son as only a mother can love, too. Sometimes a mother’s love requires that she step back a bit. His wife sends him off to work each morning with a smile and a wave.

Relationships change as people grow. Sometimes relationships grow up as we change.

Change is necessary if life is to continue – the same holds true with relationships.

What relationships are you refusing to allow to grow – or to grow up?  Why?  What are you afraid of?

The Knife

Knives and I don’t mix.

I have the scars on my hands to prove it.

Would you believe I once cut myself with a BUTTER KNIFE?

When my daughter (who was quite young at the time) learned of my boo boo and how it happened, she used the word “talented.”

I guess it does take something akin to talent to manage to cut oneself with a butter knife….

Or, just plain bad luck.

Rewind time about 8 years.  There I am in a Southwest Georgia okra field, 5 gallon bucket at my feet and a sharp paring knife in my right hand.  With my left hand I grip the okra and with the right I cut the okra from the stalk.

Halfway into filling my 5 gallon bucket, I slice into the side of my hand just below my little finger and the blood pours.

The remaining half of the bucket is filled with red spotted okra and when I carry the paring knife back to the farmer I’d borrowed it from, his wife notices the bloodied hand and the red drops falling onto her porch.

“What did you do…cut yourself?” she asks.

(If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me that in my 55 years I could fill the car up with gas – several times.)

“Yes, Ma’am,” I say. What else is there to say?

She invites me inside to wash my hands, which I accept willingly, and offers to “doctor it” for me, which I graciously decline.  I assure her I have experience with knife cuts and have butterfly bandages, plenty of bandages and antibiotic ointment at home.

With a paper towel wrapped around my hand, I pick up my bucket of bloodied okra and head home.

Hubby takes one look at the bloody paper towel wrapped around my hand and asks (yep, you guessed it), “Did you cut yourself?”

Yes.

Daughter appears and asks, “What did you do, Momma? Did you cut yourself?”

I think it’s quite obvious what I’ve done and if it isn’t clear enough to them, I remove the bloody paper towel and show the bloody cut.

“How’d you do that?” Daughter asks.

“With a knife,” is my reply.

“But, how?” she asks.

I take a knife from the kitchen drawer and begin to pantomime the action that produced the cut hand.

Hubby grabs my right wrist and says, “I think we get the idea.”

Fast forward to 2013 and roll back four days.

A friend, who designated my nickname “The Knife” because of this event I’ve shared with you, surprised me with a gift.

It was a box about 18 inches long and several inches wide.  And, it was heavy.

The outside of the box said “Control the Wild” and “American Hunter.”

Curious, I removed the lid and glanced at my friend who was grinning a lopsided grin, eyes twinkling.

It was a knife.

Not just any knife.  It was an American Hunter Pig Sticker Bowie Knife.

Yes it was.

And, it was heavy –  2 lbs of steel blade and stag handle.

The blade alone measured 12 1/4 inches.

The length of blade and handle combined brought the knife to a whopping 17 inches.

When I think of the damage I did with a short paring knife (and don’t forget the butter knife) and look at what this Pig Sticker is capable of, I feel something akin to excitement course through my veins.

I think the word would be trepidation.

Where’s the knife now?

It’s in its leather belt sheath (which makes it even longer and heavier), tucked into my underwear drawer.

I want to keep it handy, but out of sight.  It’s not exactly something I want just lying around the house for a burglar to run across.

Why “handy”? And, why in my underwear drawer?  Well…what better place to keep it than someplace that I frequent?  You never know when I might need to trim my toenails, clean my fingernails, or slice a string from Hubby’s undershirt.

And, if someone breaks into our house at night, it’s within easy arm’s reach.  I’d sure pity the dude that ran up against a scared and angry Me with a Pig Sticker in hand.

Jim Bowie, I’m not.  Annie Oakley? No way.

I’m just me and I’ve proven time and again just how dangerous I am with any knife. 😉

** I suppose I should share Hubby’s, Daughter’s, and Mom’s reaction to the knife.

Hubby – eyes wide open – “What are you going to do with that? You know how you are with knives! Is that thing sharp? You’d better sheath it right now before you cut yourself…or someone. You’re not going to just leave it lying there are you?”

Daughter – eyes wide open – “Wow! That’s really a knife, isn’t it! You do know you aren’t allowed to hold sharp knives, don’t you? You do remember what’s happened in the past, don’t you? Is it sharp? Stop! Don’t run your thumb down the blade to find out! Where are you going to keep that thing? You’re going to hurt yourself if you don’t put it up.”

Mom – eyes even wider open – “You’d better put that back into the box, carefully.  It looks sharp. Look out, it will cut you! You don’t need to take that home with you.  I need to hide that somewhere here.  It scares me and it scares me even more to think of you having it. What are you going to do with it? Use it as a toothpick?  NO! Don’t even think of doing anything foolish with a knife, especially one that large. Put it away, right now.”

🙂  Knives are so much fun. 😉

Like a Hot Knife Through Butter

Every other Monday I cut Mom’s hedges.

Did I mention she has hedges all the way around her yard?  Some are taller than I and wider than I can reach across.

It’s a several hours event when using an electric hedge trimmer, two full days of clipping with manual clippers.

Cutting hedges is not my favorite chore but this summer I’ve learned to become quite proficient with electric trimmers.  I’ve only cut the cord twice – the first time I used an electric trimmer and the last (yes, yesterday).

Until yesterday, the trimmers I used were old.  Dad had several in his shed and I burned through them.  The edge was gone on them and though they cut, it was a slow, tedious job.

And, the old trimmers were heavy, the blades long.

But, they cut (for the most part) and cutting was what I wanted them to do.

Last week, four of the old trimmers refused to do the job well, and so they found new homes – hopefully with someone who will appreciate their years of service and know how to sharpen them for more service.

That left three – and, a huge gas powered trimmer with a L-O-N-G blade bar.  Did I mention the thing is heavy?  No, I didn’t.  It is.

I had not yet used the three remaining trimmers, so I wasn’t sure they worked and if they worked, how well.

Mom and I discussed the need for new ones.  It was agreed that we would pick up a set the next time we were at Walmart.

“The next time” was this past Sunday.  The only trimmers available were HUGE.  Not something I wanted to lug around and hang onto for several hours every other Monday.

I shook my head and said, “These are way too big for me to use.  I won’t make it through.  I’ll have to stop and rest often.  I need one smaller – a lot smaller – so I don’t have to stop and rest…just keep on cutting until the job is done.”

Mom suggested Lowes or Home Depot, but I shook my head.  She was tired and it was time for her dinner. I told her we would look another day – that I was certain there was something in the shed that would work okay for one more cut.

She reluctantly said “okay” and we headed back to her house.

Though I told her I was certain, I truly wasn’t.  And, I dreaded finding out just what was available and how well it would work.  I was seriously thinking of trying out the gas powered trimmer (it was new – had been used only one time) but was afraid I might cut my head off just pulling the cord to start it.

Monday loomed large on my horizon.  Rain was forecast for today and I knew hedges HAD to be cut because Tuesdays are for grass cutting – and there wouldn’t be time to get both chores done today before rain arrives.

My online work ran far later than I expected, well beyond noon, and it was 2:00 pm before I arrived at Mom’s ready to begin on the hedges.

When I walked through Mom’s kitchen door, I saw an orange Black and Decker 17 inch hedge trimmer box standing in the corner.

It was just my size.

I inquired about it and Mom said, “Your brother brought it over this morning.”

I could have danced a happy dance right there.

A quick text thanking him for the trimmer prompted one from him that read, “Somebody said you needed new exercise equipment.”

Like a child at Christmas, I couldn’t wait to open the box and try out the shiny new toy.

I was amazed by how well it cut – like a hot knife through butter. Wow!

Mom issued the usual warnings – don’t cut the fence, don’t cut yourself, don’t handle the blades, don’t cut the cord, watch your fingers….and I was off to trim.

About dark, I put away the equipment and closed the door to the shed.  The hedges were cut and they looked GREAT, thanks to the brand new electric trimmer!

Mom asked me where I hurt and I assured her I had no pain.  The trimmer was the perfect size and weight for me.

This morning as I type this, I think of my surprise and joy at seeing the trimmer sitting there in the corner.  And, the ease with which it cut still amazes me.  And, the fact that I’m not stiff and sore this morning makes me smile.

Thank you, Brother, for the new exercise equipment!  I appreciate it – and I appreciate you even more!

Slow Down and Enjoy Life

My 85 year old mom loves to shell peas.

I enjoy it, too, but, see it as I see most tasks – something to finish so I can move on to the next item on my to-do list.

The garden yielded an amazing amount in the days following the heavy rains we received.  It seemed something needed to be picked every day as I scanned briefly for squash and okra, tomatoes and cucumbers.

The pink-eye purple hull peas were hanging heavy and turning a deep shade of purple – ripe for the picking.  Mom inquired of me, “When do you think we should pick peas?”

My reply was, “Whenever you want.”

Nothing else was said about it, so I headed into the garden to peek under leaves and pull aside plants as I searched for overlooked produce. It was like hunting Easter eggs.

As I stood in the middle of the garden with knife in hand and bucket at my feet, I heard Mom say, “I think it’s not a good idea for me to be in the garden picking peas.”

I looked up to find Mom tottering in the midst of the peas, her hands full of purple pods.

Quickly extricating myself from the squash plants and stepping between the okra, I dashed down a row, into the yard and around the garden to where Mom was standing waist deep in peas.

She said, “I didn’t give it much thought before stepping into the garden. But, once in the peas i realized it wasn’t a good idea to try moving around…I’m too unsteady on my feet as it is….”

Mom looked like she was 20 years younger.  Her hands were full of purple pods. Her cheeks were rosy. Her face was smiling.

I offered her the bucket and she placed her gathered peas into it.  The, I offered her a hand, which she took, and I pulled her from the garden.

As she stood on level, firmer ground, she picked up the bucket and pointed to the remaining purple pods.

“Today’s a good day to pick them,” she explained.  I nodded in agreement.

“I thought I could, but once in amongst them I realized it wasn’t a good idea…didn’t want to get my feet tangled and fall,” she continued.  Again, I nodded in agreement.

“Makes more sense for me to pick them and for you to hold the bucket,” I said.  She nodded in agreement.

Picking peas is back breaking work.  But, within 10 minutes we had our purple pods picked and our bucket full.

I watched her as she walked down the hill to the patio where she showed Daughter her harvest and settled at the picnic table to begin shelling them.

She called back over her shoulder, “I checked the cucumber vines and didn’t see any cucumbers.”

I squatted low and looked into the elevated vines.  There, among the vines and leaves hung not 1, but 18 cucumbers – all ready to be picked.  And, all 3 to 7 inches long.  WOW.

All told that day the garden yielded 2 yellow goose-neck squash, one zucchini squash, three ripe tomatoes (and 4 more showing color), 18 cucumbers, a bucket of peas, and half a bucket of okra.

As we sat at the picnic table, the peas scattered before us, Daughter said, “You know…next year we should make the garden larger!”

“WE??” I exclaimed.

Mom laughed.

Daughter said, “Well, I was just thinking that if it was twice the size it is now…think how many more peas we could have picked!”

Again I said, “WE??”

Without slowing down, I began to shell peas, quickly stripping the pods and plunking the peas into the bowl before me.  Daughter had a bowl and a pile of pods.  Mom had a bowl and pile of pods as well.  Mom appeared lost in thought, totally absorbed in her task. Daughter chatted merrily as she “peeled” the peas. (Her term, not mine.)

My thought was singular – get it done.

And, I did get it done.  Quickly.

Mom looked around and said, “We’re finished?  Already?”

“Yes!” I beamed.  “I work fast.”

“Oh, well…when I shell peas I enjoy it and like to take my time.  Are there really no more to shell?” Mom asked.

Daughter and I looked through the discarded hulls and I shook my head.

“Ah, well, maybe there will be more peas to pick in a few days,” Mom said.

Back into the garden I headed where I gleaned the peas for what I had missed.  I came up with two hands full of purple pods.  These I didn’t shell.

These I placed them before Mom and then sat across from her.  Her smile was huge – a real smile that came from deep within. She spoke as she shelled.  “I like to shell peas – always have.  Reminds me of good times – as a kid, with your dad, with grandchildren…I like to go slow and enjoy it.”

I learned an important lesson – about Mom and about myself.  Sometimes the joy of a job well done is found in the doing of it – not the completion of it.  I need to slow down and smell the roses I’m trimming…enjoy the scent of the peas I’m shelling….

The smile on Mom’s face as she shelled those peas will forever remain with me.  And, so will the lesson she taught me.

Backing into Trouble

There’s a sprig of poison ivy in the hedge row that borders Mom’s house and her neighbor’s.

Tenacious stuff.  So far it’s survived everything I’ve thrown at it.  If it didn’t live within the privet hedge I would dig it out or salt it and be done with it.  Part of the problem is that most of its self is on the neighbor’s side of the hedge row.

I learned that the hard way when trimming the hedge on her side.

After that little adventure I stay clear of her yard – and her poison ivy.

And, that which pokes its leaves and vines through to Mom’s side gets a liberal dose of Round Up and then whacked with the clippers if it doesn’t get the hint.

Weather permitting, Mom’s hedges are cut every other Monday and her grass every Tuesday.

It’s a plan that works well – as long as I remember the poison ivy.

You see, the poison ivy is located in a narrow place in the yard and because of where trees and other things are, maneuvering the mower in, around, and out requires that I back up twice.

Several times, I have backed into trouble and had to rush inside to wash poison ivy off of my legs and arm.

Each time I cut that grassy area I take special care to note the location of the poison ivy and remind myself to avoid it, especially when backing up.

I pass it.  I see it. I remind myself to avoid it.

And, each time I back up I forget to take care until I feel my rump bump the hedge.

Part of my problem is that the poison ivy isn’t always present.  Remember?  Every other Monday I cut hedges and the next day I cut the grass.  That leaves a week for the poison ivy to grow before I next cut the grass.

And grow it does.

One week, there’s no need to remember because I know the day before I cut off what I saw.

The next week I know it’s there because I see it, but I don’t change my pattern or behavior.  I walk past it. I see it. I get busy with the mower. I maneuver around rocks, trees, flowers. I forget the danger. I back into it.

I’m sure you are thinking of a solution to my poison ivy problem.  I welcome any thoughts and/or comments.

But, my problem isn’t poison ivy.  My problem is that I’m not learning from past errors.  I’m continuing the same behavior that gets me into trouble time and time again.

I need to change something – my behavior.

Instead of simply acknowledging the danger and attempting to avoid it, I need to take action to protect myself from it.

  • a more drastic approach to eradicating it
  • cutting it out before I cut grass
  • changing direction
  • mulching that area so cutting is not necessary

Today is Tuesday.  As I close this post, I have a decision to make.

You see, when I sign out of this blog, I will head down to Mom’s house and begin cutting her grass.

Will I change my behavior today? Or, will I stay true to habit and simply remind myself about the poison ivy and hope that’s enough to avoid backing into trouble?

After all, I’ve spent the past 55 minutes thinking about it, writing about it…surely it’s fresh enough in my mind that I can and will stay out of trouble.  It’s not like the poison ivy is going to jump out and get me.

Sigh…I’m tired of backing into trouble.

I know that

  • awareness of the problem is not enough –
  • change in my behavior is required.

But, knowing and doing are two separate things.

To obtain different results, I need to embrace change – in how I think, what I do (or, don’t do).

I hate change – but I hate poison ivy more.

Where’s the poison ivy in your life?  What’s your plan that keeps you from backing into trouble?

Vine-ripened Goodness

A week ago today, we picked the first tomato from our garden.

I had so wanted a tomato to slice for our July 4th cookout and the Grower of our tomatoes provided one.

We picked it a little early and allowed it to safely finish ripening on the window sill.  Blue Jays peck holes in red tomatoes and this one had become brilliant orange with flecks of yellow.

This tomato was destined for more important things than to wind up on the end of some bird’s beak.

Sister In Love picked it as I watched.  She tenderly cut through the stiff stem and lifted it gently from among the vines – it was low on the plant and wedged between winding vines.

I wondered if she, like I, wanted to immediately bite into its juicy goodness.

There’s nothing like biting into a just picked, sun warmed, vine ripened tomato.

Yum!  They taste nothing like store bought tomatoes.

One of my favorite childhood memories of Dad’s garden was when Dad caught me sneaking a warm, ripe tomato from a plant and devouring it right there in the garden.

“Babe, you ought not do that,” he said to me as he reached for one himself and bit into it.

Juice dripped off of his chin, too, and he grinned and said, “Don’t let your mama catch you! And, be sure to leave some for her to pick and slice.”

I took his advice and can recall only one time that she inquired about the whereabouts of a large, perfectly shaped tomato that she had been watching as she waited for it’s blush to brighten its whole.  “Perfect for slicing,” she said. “Birds must have taken it.”

From that point forward, this bird picked only misshapen fruit that had little chance of gracing a sandwich or becoming a wedge on her plate.  Looks aren’t everything when it comes to taste.  The misshapen tomatoes taste just as good as the perfect ones – maybe better.

By the time July 4th arrived, we had 2 ripe tomatoes to slice – and 3 more sitting on Mom’s kitchen window sill.

As we looked back on the 4th, Mom said, “I never thought we’d actually have a ripe tomato from the garden for the 4th…the plants went into the ground so late…but we did!”

To the Master Gardener who provided such a delicious gift – THANK YOU!

(Early Girl – that’s the name of the tomato plant that produced and ripened tomatoes earlier than the others I planted.  You can be certain next year’s garden will see a return of Early Girl plants. 🙂  )

Highlights of the 4th on the 5th

Yesterday was a 4th of July to remember.

Of course, apart from what I write here and the few pictures I took, I probably won’t remember much about it by this time next year.

Here are the highlights.

  • I slept late (until 8 a.m.),
  • It rained – all day long.  First good rain in weeks.
  • The garden perked up.
  • Momma Robin found worms for her new hatchings (they finally hatched after the rain began).
  • My mom felt like putting up with us all at her house and let us come in and take over.
  • Sliced into the watermelon and felt it “pop” open – that means it’s ripe.  🙂
  • Hubby and Brother churned ice cream and talked.
  • Brother, Sis-in-love, Niece, Daughter, Hubby, Mom and me – that’s who sat around the picnic table for the cookout and enjoyed home-churned ice cream.
  • Saw Niece’s new hairstyle up close and personal – beautiful!
  • Goofed with Sis-in-love.
  • Talked about Dad and Sis-in-love’s Mom.
  • Toasted JUMBO marshmallows on the grill before cooking burgers…just to make sure the grill was hot enough.  Delicious!  And, sticky. (on my lips, nose, fingers…in my hair)
  • Licked ice cream from the churn dasher before washing it (one of the perks of working in the kitchen – yum!)
  • We were able to eat on the patio, at the picnic table, even though it was raining.
  • Mom’s potato salad and baked beans – m-m-m-m.
  • The temperature at 4 pm was…68 degrees.
  • After we ate ice cream, Mom, Niece and Sis-in-love donned jackets, hats and blankets – brr.
  • We ate toasted marshmallows (again) to warm up after the ice cream chill.
  • Fireworks began early in the day.
  • An explosion two houses up the street from us – sounded like someone blew up their gas grill.  Expletives followed.
  • At this same house, as we sat to enjoy our ice cream dessert, we heard what we first took as crazy fireworks but then soon realized it was the sound of a tree falling. I ran to the 2nd house up the street and found 7 people shocked but okay.  A huge tree had fallen on the garage they were celebrating in, crushing it but not injuring anyone.
  • With dusk came a lull in rainfall and an increase in explosions as celebrants headed outdoors to shoot the fireworks they had purchased.
  • A horrible explosion sounded across the street, then screams and yelling – (no one was injured) either a novice or idiot detonated something HUGE.  I heard him say: “it incinerated my #@$& tools!” The ball of gray smoke lingered in his yard and then slipped down the street.  My ears rang for some time.
  • Fireworks, the Braves – these we watched on TV at Mom’s while we waited for the blasting to finish outside (across the street, in the street, up the street).  It sounded like a war zone.
  • Jumped when unexpectedly loud (and scary) explosions shook her house.
  • After arriving home, watched a 2000 recording of the Pop Goes the 4th with Hubby and enjoyed fireworks set to music.  (a tradition for us and since we don’t have cable or satellite TV now, Hubby pulled out our old VHS tape of it and surprised me)

I’m certain my highlights of yesterday’s events are not the same list others in attendance would produce.  .

However, I think the downsides/low points would be the same for everyone present.

  • Dad was not there.
  • Sis-in-love’s mom was not there and her dad was unable to attend due to his health and the weather.
  • Son and daughter-in-love were not there – he worked.
  • Granddaughter (6 weeks old today!) was not able to come.  Her mom kept her in and out of the cool rain.
  • Niece’s significant other was visiting his family – his mom’s birthday.

Did you notice? The only downsides listed pertained to people absent from our number?

What were the highlights of your 4th of July celebration?