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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

All this rain...

All this rain takes me back to Nickerson, Kansas and the time Dad spent farming with John Britan.  The farm was located across the Arkansas River.  I do not know  East from West so I am not sure which side of the river that is, but it was leave town, cross the bridge and turn left.  As most farm land was back then, it was dry land.  Ah, but through the middle of it there ran a "slough".  For those of you who do not know what a slough is, I will tell you.  A slough is a low place that much resembles a dry ditch most of the year.  When it is rainy season, it looks like a creek.  When it is really rainy for any length of time it looks like a small river.

The wheat was planted on the full acreage was planted to wheat.  Most of the time that worked fine, but if it filled the slough that part of the crop was lost.  Now, Dad would sometimes take Jake and I with him when he went to do the harvest.  Josephine stayed home with the younger kids while Mother drove the truck into town to the elevator.  If it was dry, it was pretty boring, but if the slough was full, we had a blast.  At the time it seemed to me that this raging river was my home.  Once Jake built me a flat raft with a string tied to a matchstick that was poked through a hole.  That way I could hang on to the string and keep it from floating away.

The Kansas sun beat down on us as we played by that wonderful body of water and we could put our feet in it and we were in heaven.  We did not know what hot was and more then once we got a good sunburn.  Mother would doctor us with whatever magic potion she had on hand and by the next day, the sunburn was gone and we were a darker shade of tan.  By the end of summer we looked like a couple Indians.  I do not remember combing my hair, but I am sure I did.

Jake was my hero and sometimes one of the boys from town would come to visit him.  That was never any fun because they would wander off and the beautiful, cool riverwould  turn into a muddy, dirty mess.  Jake always made my life magic.  He instilled in me an ability to see life through different eyes.  He painted pictures of a world far away that was beckoning to him.  From him, I got my love for music.  Oh, not just music, country music.

With the help of a car radio and a good battery he delivered The Grand Old Opry to the front yard of our little house on Strong Street.  He knew all the singers. Faron Young, Little Jimmy Dickens, Hank Williams, Ferlin Husky, Carl and Pearl Butler, and on and on.  I always thought he would some day pick up a guitar and head south.  But he didn't.  When he was 16 years old he forged his birth certificate and went into the Army.  I stayed home and wrote to him.  He was sent to Germany and by the time he returned home, I was not a little girl anymore.

Funny how rain can trigger emotions that I thought were long lost.  I wonder what is going on in Nickerson?  It floods every Spring and I am sure this one is no different.  I am planning a trip back there in August, but it can never be the same.  The house is gone.  The people I knew are gone.  It is just a spot on the map now,  but isn't that how life was planned to be?  And our memories, they never leave.

I still love country music and I listen to Classic Country when I am at home alone.  The radio used to crackle and break up so I could not understand the words.  Now it is clear and while it is the same, it is not the same, but through it all I can hear Jake singing.  I can feel the hot, humid air that is Kansas.  And while this brings tears to my eyes as I think back, it was probably the happiest part of my life.

I miss you, my brother!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Colonoscopy? Thank M#$%*@o!!

Yesterday was the annual March Against Monsanto.  All over the country people who care came together and carried signs protesting what is going on with our food supply.  Our demonstation was not very well attended and at first that made me angry.  Then I rethought it and I have decided that perhaps anger is not the right emotion.  Disappointment?  Maybe, but not really.  After much soul searching I put my finger on it.  It is Fear.  It is fear for not just myself, but the whole country.  Let's review here.

Most of my friends do not recall the "good old days" like I do.  I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and restroom facilities consisted of an "outhouse" and Saturday night was bath night in the kitchen in a galvanized tub that Momma filled with water heated on a wood stove, which was also used for cooking.  Meat was a rarity on our table, but when it showed up it had usually been walking or hopping around in the back yard earlier in the day.  And we picked greens out of the yard.  We ate Lambs Quarter.  Ever hear of that?  A weed.  Our animals were fed grain that had been fed raised in some farmers field and harvested by that same farmer.  It was delivered to our place by wagon.

There was not much sickness in our small town.  There was one lady who kept having tests and more tests and the tests found nothing.  She had a hysterectomy, an appendectomy, tonsillectomy  and finally just died.  There was also a young man who set in a wheel chair in front of his house and smiled and waved every morning before school and every afternoon after school.  I forget what he had, but we knew he was not well.  He died when he was 14 or so.  But for the most part babies were born, grew up, and moved away.  The old people stayed behind and eventually died and that was that.  The flu went around and we survived. 

Then came polio.  Then a vaccine to control that.  A vaccine for small pox.  Want to know a secret?  I was very puny when I was pre-teen, so I never had those vaccinations.  No polio, no whooping cough, no small pox, no tetenaus, no nothing.  Still have not had them, do not want them and have survived just fine without them.

Then I noticed people coming down with one thing or another.  I was 15 years old before I had the sign of a boob or hair under my arms.  But I noticed my kids were alost fully developed by the time they were 12 and now it seems to be 8 or 9.  What is going on?  My first thought was growth hormones in the meat we eat and the milk we drink.  Everyone thought I was nuts.  Oh, well.  You explain it.

Then I found out little bits of info here and there that disturbed me.  Our fruits and vegetables are radiated so they stay fresher for us and can last longer on the grocery store shelf!  Every thing that comes off the shelf also has a preservative in it.  Buy a loaf of bread.  Bake a loaf of bread.  Put the 2 items on your kitchen counter and walk away.  Two weeks later the store loaf will still be there, nice and fresh.  The one you baked will be consumed by mold and unrecognizeable as anything edilbe.  Scary, huh?

No!  What is scary is what the government that is supposed to protect us is doing to us in the name of progress.  A company named M#$%*@o, the one that invented agent Orange for use as a defoliant in Vietnam came up with a way to "improve" our food supply.  Just alter a few genes in the DNA of and they will be grow very big, very fast.  Plants will be able to kill insects from within.  One bite and the worm in your corn hemmorages and dies.  I have been known to eat 3 ears of corn.  What do you think that does to you?

Do me a favor.  You apparently have a computer and Google is all over the Internet.  Google GMO.  Google World's Highest Cancer Rate.  And if you only do one, cut and paste this one.  Which countries DO NOT allow Genetically Modified  Organics.

The point I am trying to get across to you, my friends, is this:  Educate yourselves.  It is your body.  You decide what goes in it.  Big business has bought and paid for our government.  If you think about it, you know I am right.  Congress keeps passing laws to protect those who pollute our food supply.  Think about our last election.  We had a measure on the ballot to make companies label our foods.  What happened?  Big money came in and ran a campaign aimed at your pocket book.  

"If we have to label our products you will have to pay more at the store."  That is a crock!  Food has to be labeled any way, we just want it HONEST!

"Oh, us small farmers will be put out of business."  Of course you will when we find out what you are doing to us!

And last but not least, why do out of state businesses care what goes on in our state?  Is it personal?  Hell no!  Oh, wait.  It is personal.  Personal to thier bank accounts.  Please, if you do nothing else all day, spend just a little time researching your food supply and finding out why the medical problems in our country are spiraling out of control.  

And on a brighter note, our crowd was younger this year.  It is too late for us old people to save our colon, but if we can save the children, there is still hope.  This little fellow made this sign while we were standing on the corner waving at people going by and honking.  OMG! GMO!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Currant bushes

Back in Nickerson, Kansas, we had Currant bushes.  They grew along the fence between our chicken pen and the neighbors pig pen.  Every spring that whole fence would be lined with the light green bushes with tiny yellow flowers.  Ever eat a Currant?  If you pick them to green they will pucker your mouth  and that is not good.  If you wait long enough they will turn a dark, dark purple and then they are ready. Not much better as I recall, but at least you could eat them.  They are about the size of a pea.  I think now I can go to the health food store and buy them dried and snack on them or make some sort of healthy bread.
The neighbors have a stand over there and I see one has come up in my back yard along with the wild garlic.  I like to keep the area directly west of the house as a wild area.  I also have a Choke Cherry bush which has spread to cover a good area.  In the late Summer I gather enough Choke Cherries to make a batch of jelly and then let the birds have the rest.

Now, what do Currants and Choke Cherries have in common with a Gooseberry?   Gooseberry is the all around winner as "things no human should ever eat!"  My mother-in-law had a Gooseberry patch in her back yard and it was a rule that we must all pick a bucket of Gooseberries and make a pie once a year.  I took Bret and Shelly over to pick and explained to them that if the Gooseberry had a bit of dark color that would be best.  First obstacle is that Gooseberry bushes have very long sharp thorns.  I figured they would be bloody messes, but they were very careful.  Their hands were small so they could pick a berry without being stabbed.  Then to my horror I looked over and they were picking them and EATING them!  My, God!  I figured they would be in bed with a bellyache the rest of the Summer.
And then the occasional wild Lilac bush has popped in also.  This one is beside a wild Red bud tree.   I have 10 Lilacs around my house.
And the New Mexico Sunflowers are about to take the place.  Can not lay my hands on that photo, but if I ever turn up missing look for me under them.  SoI am now off to do whatever it is I do all day.  
You'all have a good one!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Another High Tea is in the books.

The tea cups patiently await the tea drinkers.
The tea pots are lined up to carry the brew!
Scones are trying to get out of the bag.
And away we go!
Classical music is provided by Jerome.

Sorry you missed it!

Monday, April 27, 2015

High Tea Time!!

It is once more that time of year.  The date is  May 9 at 228 Evans Avenue  for the Second Annual High Tea at First Congregational United Church of Christ.  It is one of our favorite fundraisers and  many people really look forward to it.  The ladie's and the gentlemen like to put on thier hats and head over for an afternoon of fun, companionship and gastronomical delights.
This year Jerome will be delighting us with some classical pieces on his violin.  As I understand it, Beth will be his page turner!  Nice when people pull together.
Now these look like some rowdy women here!

Just a little sampling of what is in store for your enjoyment.
Last year we had Pastor Jeannine to help serve and she will be sorely missed this year, but I am sure she is peeking down and cheering us on.  Gone, but not forgotten.
So, here is the deal.  I need to know if you are coming!  Give me a call at 719-546-1555 and let me know.  You can pay for the tickets at the door, but I do need a head count by May 3.  It starts at 2:00 and tickets are $20.00.  I would love to see you there.

Lou Mercer 719-546-1555

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Funny how this friendship thing works, isn't it?

Over the course of many years I have had lots of friends.  I guess one would call them friends.  I had one friend in grade school, but she moved on to other friends when we began high school.  I did not leave high school with any real friends.   After marriage I moved around a lot so that was not conducive to any friendships.  When I moved back to Hutchinson and went to work I did begin to form relationships with other women who were in the same postition of raising a family on my own.  Unfortuneately I also met men who were marriage minded and so it goes.  To cut to the chase, when I moved to Colorado I left the few friends I had and did not look back.
So now it is 35 years later and here I am.  I still have 2 of the Kansas friends, although I do not talk to them much.  Several others have passed away as the human race is known to do.   I have culivated a whole  new crop out here in Colorado and for the most part I am pretty happy with my friend situation.  My mother once told me that true friends are hard to come by and that if you reach the end of your life and you can count your true friends on one hand you are blessed.

Here is my take on a friend...a friend is someone that I have something in common with.  A great friend knows what I am saying and takes me at face value.  A true friend does not judge me because I stumble and will help me up when I fall.   My friend likes to spend time with me, but does not smother me.

Recently I have had occasion to wonder about a "true friend".  True is defined as faithful, loyal.  Friend is defined as a person attached to another by affection or regard.  I have always just tried to be there for my friends, to listen, lend a helping hand and when the rough spots are over, forget that they were there.
So, following that premise, I think my friends should do the same for me.   Not so with one.  I looked at something he had done and thought , "What a petty, mean little man he is!"  I told him that, too.  His reply to me was to point out all the things he had done for us over the years out of the "kindness of his heart."  What all he had "given " us.

Fifteen years is a long time to be friends with someone and then have them remember every thing they did and recount it.  Did my loyalty mean nothing?  Sure looks that way to me.

I was at a loss to counter what I had did for him because what I had done, I had done and forgotten about.    He is a business man and I had recommended him to several lucrative clients.  And prepared lots of special diet food for him and the wife, but I forgot about it as soon as it was delivered.  Labors of love are not remembered after they are done.

So water goes under the bridge.  Chalk it up to experience and move on.  So, I called my friend in Missouri and made plans to meet her in August.  That is how it goes.  She asks nothing of me and I expect the same of her.  Good talking to her.  Kind of renews my faith in friends.  We have a long history and we shall catch up in August and forget about the inconsequential little people who want stroked and told they are wonderful  when they are hurting people for no good reason except selfishness.

One thing I have learned on my journey is that  to have a friend, you must first be a friend and that is how it goes!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spring, Sprang, Sprung!

I have a total of 10 Lilac bushes around my house and yard and every one of them looks like this.  They are loaded with blooms and the beauty is surpassed only by the wonderful fragrance of the Lilac.  I do know that the correct conjugation is not spring, sprang, sprung and that by so doing I have changed a noun to a verb, but Spring does that to me.

I understand that we are supposed to have snow today and this will not be the first time my Lilac's have peeked through the cold and frozen white blanket to cheer my day.  April is probably my favorite month simply because of the Lilac's.  Purple is my favorite color and Lilac is my favorite fragrance, so there you go.

I like to think that in another life I would have been a Lilac.  They are strong and can withstand about any condition:  below zero weather to a hot dry summer.  They do like sunshine and will struggle when planted in a shady place and wither and die in the dark.  Much like me.   

I am going to cut a bouquet of these and bring them in the house, but only because I have so many.  I do not like cut flowers because it breaks my heart to watch them die in a vase, but I only get to see these when I go outside and they make me so happy.  I can set on the deck in the evening and lose myself in beautiful dreams with the Lilac fragrance drifts through my reverie.

So, I guess you get the idea that I am maybe a little fond of Lilac's?  I know Spirea will be blooming soon or may have already bloomed, but it has no smell and the flowers are tiny so I over planted on the Lilac bushes.  

The day calls me, so off I go.  You have a good day and remember to stop and smell the flowers along life's pathway!