Reflections

After four years, this will be my last entry written as My Southern Heart.  I hope you will follow me as I begin a new journey and a NEW blog.  Thank you, dear readers, for your friendships which stretched across the continents.   

You see the wing of that jet below?  I will be on one such jet on Saturday morning leaving Portland, Oregon, and the grandeur of the Pacific Northwest for the last time.  Headed for another beautiful part of this country – the MIDWEST!  I love the prairie…with the spun gold rolling grasses as far as the eye can see and the breathtaking sunsets.  Oh, and did I mention corn?!  By supper time Saturday, I’ll be getting kisses from four grandkids and a Hungarian Vizla!

Blessings to each of you!

Dianne

I will, in time, be closing down this blog – it’s all about saving four years worth of my work AND finding the time! In the meantime, I’m hearing from many of you who are still enjoying past posts and recipes.

My new blog is entitled Sweet Journey Home and I would love it if you’d follow me over there!  

 Comments are closed for this one…

 Photo above by Penny Allen Glenn. Copyright 2012. Used with permission. All rights reserved by Penny Allen Glenn.

Even after a rare thunderstorm last night – complete with thunder, lightning, hail and pouring rain – it is much too quiet here this morning.  After a wonderful visit together, it was time to drive Sharon (my niece who is two years younger than I) and Penny (my sister-in-law of 39 years) to the airport in Portland yesterday.  Their flight is on the runway as I type and they are departing for Memphis.  I miss them already…

They arrived on Tuesday, July 10th, in Eugene, Oregon.  It had been Penny’s first time to fly.  Thankfully, both flights were flawless and perfectly smooth the entire way…and she loved flying!   They immediately fell in love with Oregon and the incredible beauty of the Pacific Northwest.  They also couldn’t believe that it stayed “light” until practically past bedtime!  As we drove the one and a half hours to the farm, we talked nonstop as they took in the scenery along the way.  It was almost dark when we arrived home to the farm but they were excited to see everything.

When I awoke the next morning, I found them enjoying coffee and juice in the front porch rockers.  The front porch would be the place to enjoy many times over the next week and a half.  The sun was shining in an almost cloudless sky and the temperature was in the mid-sixties.  They had left 100+ degrees in Memphis and they were thrilled.

Over the  next ten days, we did everything!   On Wednesday, a “rest” day for them, we toured our small town and I showed them everything here (that didn’t take too long).  We went to a local nursery and enjoyed the beautiful  flowers there.  We stopped by Kruse Farms and picked up a freshly baked marionberry pie and vanilla ice cream.   We hiked down to the canyon with the macho logger tree farmer.  They enjoyed shooting the .22 with him at the shooting range.  They loved the farm life here.  Penny took over feeding the chickens and gathering the eggs.  Sharon assumed the duty of feeding the goats.  They loved it!  We spent a lot of time on the front porch enjoying the rocking chairs and our spectacular view – which they loved.

On Thursday, we drove to Grant’s Pass, Oregon, where we took the Hellgate Jetboat excursion to the large log lodge upstream for a barbecue lunch. They loved jetboating…especially on the return trip when the captain hotdogged the boat and we got soaked! We saw elk on the nearby elk preserve…and just wished they were closer. Thankfully, we had a zoom lens for photos.  Friday was another “rest” day with fun on the farm and the three of us in the kitchen.  I could get spoiled to that!

On Saturday, we drove to Florence, Oregon, to see the Pacific Ocean. So different from the Atlantic and the Gulf Coast which they are used to seeing.  We went down 600 feet into the incredible Sea Lions Cave.  On Sunday, we headed up to 5700+ feet to see the amazing Crater Lake.  We found a beautiful nearby waterfalls and took some memorable photos there.

 

 

At Sea Lions Cave…

On Monday, we headed back to the coast – this time to one of my favorite coastal towns:  Bandon, Oregon.  We also stopped by the elite Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, where Sharon’s husband wants to eventually play.  We picked up some souveniers for him.  We tasted practically all of the samples at the Cranberry Sweets store and they purchased some to take home.

On Tuesday, Penny and Sharon enjoyed playing horseshoes with Jim.  We spent a lot of time relaxing on the front porch.  Each evening, we enjoyed a movie after dinner.  It was all about the fellowship and time together.  They had fun playing cards on the front porch with the macho logger tree farmer.  No doubt, laughter could be heard all the way down to the valley.  They picked fresh veggies from the garden and we cooked a delicious dinner again.

Thursday came all too soon.  We drove to Portland where their flight was supposed to leave this morning at 7:55 a.m.  (Actually they are flying United so, of course, it is late!)  We took them to Sweet Tomatoes for a soup and salad lunch which we all enjoyed…and then it was time to get them checked into their hotel.

Saying goodbye is never any fun, but it helps that we will be having Thanksgiving in the South this year and I will see them then.  We miss you already, Sharon and Penny!

My granddaughters and I were spending Friday evening together while their parents had a date night.  We had enjoyed a pizza together and were now all curled up on the sofa watching the movie  Mighty Macs (excellent movie by the way).  During one scene, an elderly nun pasted newspaper clippings of the legendary team into her well-used scrapbook as the camera zoomed in for a close-up of her hands…aged and wrinkled from years of service and use.

I held out one hand in front of me and looked at it for a moment without saying a word.

My ten-year-old granddaughter, who was snuggled close beside me, looked up at me and then grinned.

“Don’t even think about it, Grandmommy”‘ she said.  “Not even close.  Not for a very long, long, long, long time”…..

I have flown dozens and dozens of times – and enjoyed it – until last year when I flew out of a bad storm in Memphis and into a worse one in Dallas.  The DFW airport was closed for a couple of hours and the plane I was on took a roundabout, time-consuming way there.  Needless to say, I missed my connecting flight, but managed to get the last flight to Portland out of Dallas to arrive at 2 a.m. Portland time.  I was in the very last seat next to the window (with some large, mechanical apparatus inches from the window) and the ceiling sloping at an angle inches from my head.  A long line of passengers continued to file into the plane.  At that point, a very large couple sat down beside me.  Suddenly, I felt totally hemmed in and very claustrophobic.  I told the flight attendant that I had to move up or get off the plane…thankfully, I moved up.  There have been a few other claustrophobic flight episodes since then.

I was flying on the morning of April 7th from Portland to Louisville to visit my firstborn and his family.  The only feasible way for me to travel 2,000+ miles.  I was trying not to focus on having a panic episode or any degree of claustrophobia.  I’ve discovered that I do best when I am closer to the front of the plane (though I certainly cannot afford first class), next to the window and in a row of TWO seats rather than three!  And, yes, sometimes there is an extra charge for those seats (don’t tell my husband) but it beats a claustrophobic episode!

Before I boarded the plane, I prayed for someone special to sit beside me on the four hour flight to Dallas, my connecting city.  Someone who would entertain me and keep me from thinking about the fact I couldn’t get off the plane!  God answered that prayer with a special young man.  He’s from Spain and a senior in college there.  He had been visiting his girlfriend in Portland.  He introduced himself first and proceeded to totally entertain me.  He told me all about his life in Spain and his family there.  He works as a ski instructor to help with his college expenses.  I have THREE goats.  His family has 2,000 goats!  They make delicious cheese with the milk from the goats.  He pulled out his phone and showed me pictures of his family and his girlfriend.  We played the game Angry Birds together.  Such a very nice young man and an answer to prayer.  Before I knew it, we were descending into the Dallas airport.  He extended his hand to shake mine and THANKED ME for the visit!  My Heavenly Father doesn’t do anything halfway.  I thanked this sweet young man for making this flight an enjoyable one…

….and I thanked my Heavenly Father for answered prayer.

After an almost four hour layover in Denver, Colorado, I boarded the plane for Portland at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening.  What I didn’t realize at the time was:  there was a storm over the Rockies…and we were headed right into it.  Not sure what the pilot was thinking but as he tried to climb above the storm, the plane rocked furiously from side to side and up and down…much like a toy plane would do in the hands of a three-year-old.   The young woman seated beside me commented that she hoped she didn’t throw-up.  I replied that I hoped she didn’t either.  (Although I’ve been a Registered Nurse since 1978, I still don’t do throw-up very well)!

It was taking everything I had to manage my recently acquired airplane anxiety and I was not enjoying the scenario.  Passengers began pulling out cell phones although I didn’t see anyone turning them on.  I contemplated doing the same.  I wanted to be prepared in case I needed to say goodbye to loved ones…although I prayed it wouldn’t come to that!  I live a three to four day journey by automobile to all three of my grown-up children and their families, so I must fly.  My next journey is April 7th when I will fly to Louisville, Kentucky, to visit my older son and his family…and then, from Kentucky, on to Dallas for a visit with my younger son and his family.

Let’s hope I’ve forgotten this recent flight by then!

Today is my last day of a two and  a half week wonderful visit with my daughter and her precious family.  We’ve had such fun and made so many great memories.  I miss them all already.

This afternoon, we will drive one hour North for my oldest grandchild’s swim meet.  I am happy that I will get to see him swim.  I saw my oldest granddaughter swim in practice.  I’m amazed that they are such fast and strong swimmers as are my oldest son’s daughters.  They didn’t get that from me!

I fly back home to Oregon tomorrow…via a long layover in Denver.  I suppose an almost 4 hour layover is better than a 1 hour layover when the plane is late and you’re in the back of a large jet and it takes 30 minutes to deplane!  I shall be thankful and take advantage of the long layover to have an actual meal at the airport instead of a snack on the plane.  I will not arrive into Portland until 10 p.m. Iowa time and that will make for a very long day.  The macho logger tree farmer will be waiting for me…

It has snowed twice now on the tree farm in the Callahans and I have missed both of them.  The first time I was in Dallas having a wonderful visit with my younger son and his precious family.  It snowed again on the farm this week.  Not to worry though, it has snowed twice here over the past two weeks, and I did have fun playing out with my grandchildren.  But I have missed my macho logger tree farmer and it is time to be home!

I was relaxing on the playroom sofa engrossed in the novel by Ree Drummond with the grandchildren playing happily all around me.  I noticed movement to my left barely above the back of the sofa.  It was Larry-Boy, the Veggie Tale puppet.  Suddenly, “Larry-Boy” broke into the happy song “Veggie Tales”.   The sweet and tender voice of my just-turned-three-year-old grandson was perfectly carrying the tune.

My heart melted, and tears came to my eyes, as I thought about what a gift this sweet child is…and how different his life might have been.  I’m thankful beyond words that God picked this precious child to be a part of this family…all the way from Ethiopia.

And I’m especially thankful for his sweet gift of song…

Today is my Daddy’s birthday and I’m missing him.  He was born on February 17, 1905…the youngest of seven children.  His father and grandfather before him were farmers in the rich farmland of the Mississippi Delta.  With a legacy bestowed by their Scottish immigrant ancestors, they had strong work ethics, Christian values and believed in the strength of family.

I never heard my Daddy raise his voice in anger or utter a curse word in my entire life.  He was a strong but gentle man.  As the father of four daughters, he was mellow and laid-back – I suppose he had to be.  With a quick and ready smile, he had a good sense of humor.  As children, my niece Sharon and I would get to laughing at the supper table and could easily get him to laugh.  On more than a few occasions, we were sent from the table until we regained our composure.

He and Mama spent a lifetime together.  After a severe stroke claimed her speech and altered her personality, he was kind and patient with her.  In the last few months of his life, one of his favorite country songs that he would listen to often was “I’ll Go to My Grave Loving You” by the Statler Brothers.  He loved her and us, his four daughters, with all his heart.  He also loved his grandchildren.  I just wish that he could have lived long enough to meet my grandchildren.  My oldest grandson has my Daddy’s olive complexion,  dark brown eyes and very dark brown hair.  My Dad was the only grandparent or great-grandparent with those features, and I love the fact that my grandson inherited them.

Daddy was an “old-time” Democrat, which my son says today would, most likely, be the Libertarian party.  He believed in searching for the candidate who would be the strongest leader…the one with the most integrity and character.  He was also not fond of “big government”.  I’ve wondered what he would have to say about the November election and which candidate he would choose.    I think I have an idea.

I’m truly thankful for the legacy that my parents left my sisters and me…

I flew out of Portland last Saturday morning, and after a connection in Denver, arrived safely in Iowa…where my daughter and her two youngest were waiting for me.  My three year old grandson called out, ” that’s MY grandmommy”!  What joyful words.  We’ve had a busy, fun week and I’m amazed at what my daughter accomplishes in any given day.  She has decided to cook with as many organic foods as possible and everything is from scratch…even homemade bread and pasta.  She purchased a heavy-duty professional mixer, pasta maker, heavy-duty juicer and a grain-mill.    She makes her own yogurt and granola and serves it with fresh raspberries (breakfast this morning).  All of this in between homeschooling and transporting the children to library days, swim team, swim practice and church activities.  My daughter commented that she remembered my doing the same thing – except the sports were basketball and track meets.  I think I do remember it come to think of it…

Homemade wheat bread…

We celebrated a fun Valentines Day together.  The morning began with a floral delivery.  The macho logger tree farmer had ordered a large gorgeous bouquet of yellow roses.  They’re still beautiful!  Then while my older grandson was in the two classes he takes at the Christian high school across town, the rest of us drove to a nearby Walmart.  While my daughter shopped, my granddaughters and I headed in a different direction shopping for a fun idea we had.  We picked up gifts for each person.  Nothing terribly expensive or elaborate – just fun.  There was a plate/bowl/cup set for my three year old grandson in the “Cars” theme with Lightning McQueen, a beginner crochet set for my twelve year old granddaughter, a Disney Rapunzel “pillow” for my seven year old granddaughter, an Elmer Fudd logger’s cap in a black & red check for my fourteen year old grandson who loves fun caps, a trilogy of Christian fiction, cute canning labels and a garlic press for my daughter and a fun John Deere set, nuts and candy for my son-in-love.  Oh, and lots of chap stick for me.  Each package was wrapped in Valentines paper and a number placed on the package.  Then a number was placed on each chair – not necessarily the same!  After dessert, we opened the gifts and you had to decide whether or not you had the “right” gift and, if not, negotiate to get the right one.  Everyone had fun and were happy with their Valentines gifts.  My daughter also surprised everyone with a Valentines gift – I loved my gift from her:  the movie, “Come Dance at My Wedding”!  A fun Valentines Day all the way around…

Happy Valentines Day from the macho logger tree farmer…

 

I arrived in Dallas a week ago tomorrow and promptly fell in love all over again. Maggie is amazing. She’s now four and a half months and weighs about 14 pounds. Those big blue eyes sparkle when she smiles and she smiles a lot. She has even laughed for me – when I bark. I have perfected barking like a puppy and she thinks it’s funny. Of course, she doesn’t exactly know who I am yet…but she knows I’m someone special.

We’ve had a great, busy week. Some fun shopping days, lots of good visiting time, and some touring (although I honestly told my son and daughter-in-love that the Eiffel Tower could be down the block and I really wouldn’t care. I’m doing exactly what I want to do – spending time with Maggie).

Today was an incredible 77 degrees and we spent a fun day at the Dallas Arboretum.  Beautiful!  Reminded me a lot of the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C.  Definitely a must see when you visit Dallas!

The slideshow below includes some of the photos I’ve taken of Maggie this week and also some pics from the Arboretum today.  My son took several of Maggie and me together, but they are on his camera for the moment.  Several of the photos of Maggie remind me so much of her Dad when he was this age.

Tonight, I’m “babysitting” my precious granddaughter while her parents enjoy a date night out.  This is the first time they’ve been away from her since she was born.  They are wonderful parents and I am so proud of them!  I loved all the instructions and reminders and definitely took them to heart.  Although, I did remind them that I do have a “little experience”…just to set their mind at ease.  😉

 

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My Southern Heart...the Stories blog is about my life growing up in the South in the fifties and sixties. It was an amazing time...a time of falling in love, getting married, having a family. A time of history in the making, political unrest, rock and roll. Come along on my life's journey. It's a chronological story, so be sure to start at the beginning. It will make a whole lot more sense that way. Check out: My Southern Heart...the Stories