Sunday, May 31, 2009

Long Ago

Boo in our Music Room Window
thirty years ago

Love this photo. It reminds me of the song we sang in church today, inviting the Holy Spirit to come and dance like a Father over us. When we are little girls most of us dream of our wedding day, dancing with our new husband and with our Daddy's. Each of our girls who is married has danced with Muffin, a sweet and sorrowful dance as they are handed into the arms of their new husbands. Beautiful. 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

One year ago on Memorial Day we did not know that we had only 19 days left with Dubbie in his "Earth suit".  For his memorial service Muffin and Kaki spent hours preparing the memory slide show you see to the right side of this post. Over the past two months Muffin and I gathered many of those photos into a book. My new Macbook and it's software successfully restored old photos and created lovely pages of eighty eight years of memories, overlaid like multicolored leaves fallen from trees shading a house, the House of Allen. We added the text of Psalm 91, a page from his favorite hymnal, and a few words of blessing and dedication, sending it off for printing and publication. To say I was pleased with the final product is an understatement. I just wept with joy, and some sadness too when the Dubbie book arrived.

Today we asked Nannie to come to our house to view new blog posts and photos of the Cheese folks and Rowdy family, since she has no internet connection. She insisted on buying lunch from Taco Bueno and enjoyed that and her viewing time.  Then we gave her THE book.  It was totally precious, just watching her turn the pages and see the photos, reading the verses of the Psalm as she first turned forward, then backward through the gallery.  

Muffin and I also took Nannie to Dubbie's gravesite and placed a flag on the veteran's marker. He deserved the honor. There were hundreds of small flags flying out there today. Afterward, we drove to the small town cemetery where Nannie's relatives are buried. Flags were already in place and fresh flowers were lovingly placed by a cousin last week. Nannie told a few stories about those resting in the ground. My Aunt and Uncle lie on the north side, with a barbed wire and bandana wreath and a spur. Next to them are Nannie's grandparents who died in 1910 and 1923. He was the original "W.C." in the family, and she was the small, ornery lady who's rocking chair I own. It is said that she thought "damnyankees" was one word. On the south side of the plot my grandparents rest side by side; Buck and Drucie. Muffin cleaned back the overgrown grass from the marble markers reading "Mother" and "Dad" from the foot of their joint graves. 

On the way back it began to rain quite hard and the fabulous smell of the Holy Spirit was in the air. It's good to remember on Memorial Day. Not just history, but that He makes all things new.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Movie Night

Tonight Muffin and I had a real date. We had dinner at the nearby Italian restaurant, which uses the very freshest ingredients. I had a grilled chicken rotini dish made with fresh tomatoes, herbs and artichokes. The most delicious ingredient was the crumbled peccorino cheese. Muffin had a ravioli dish with delicious fresh basil and tomatoes. Their house dressing on the salads is one of the best Italian dressings ever. 

After dinner we drove to the Town and Country Drive-In Theater for a double feature. Tonight's choices were Terminator Salvation/Star Trek  or on the other screen Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian/ X Man Origins:Wolverine. So we took our snacks and bottled water, rolled back the sun roof, and turned on the radio to the theater frequency, and sat under the stars from 9 pm to 1 a.m.  Night at the Museum was fun, especially all the animated art hanging in the National Gallery (which is not technically part of the Smithsonian).  But we turned the car around and drove to the other side of the lot to watch Star Trek. Muffin loved it!  Proclaimed the special effects were the best ever. 

Oh, and the lot of the theater, in addition to the snack bar, has a working oil well pump surrounded by a fence right smack in the middle of the property.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Seven Years Ago

It was a beautiful day. That's appropriate, because their son, The Jbear, takes note of beautiful days. The engagement was short--one week short of five months. The relationship was long--almost six years, although mostly through distance. The phone bill was expensive, but we won't go there. The dress was custom made and fitted, then hand embroidered by the Bride's Mom--Me!  The music was lovely--string quartet and an original vocal duet for the wedding and a jazz band at the reception. The setting was perfect--the Bride's home church with guests who also witnessed her grow from a child of six years old to a beautiful young woman. The attendants, our beautiful daughters dressed in red and our lovely niece and the groom's charming cousin as flower girl and ring bearer. The reception, in a pristine ballroom of a restored historic building in our hometown. The photographer also did the photo shoots for the Bride's senior year and her younger sister's softball teams.  Food was handmade by family and friends, chosen by the Bride--roasted pecans, cucumber sandwiches, asparagus rolled in ham, fresh fruit, tasty white grape punch, and, of course the cakes. Groom's cake was his favorite--carrot with cream cheese frosting, and the bride's cake was vanilla with a spiral of grapes and berries flowing from the top of three tiers. 

In an act of love and grace, a dear friend bought and arranged all the flowers. It was absolutely beautiful. All colors of the stained glass windows were represented in the lilies, stock, tulips, roses, berries, and many floral species I never knew or totally forgot existed. Inside the sanctuary was a low, full arrangement of beautiful roses and magnolia leaves. On each of the formal round tables at the reception a silver teapot, coffeepot, or vase held the blooms, an
d also adorning the tables were small glass plates filled with buffet food so guests would be able to nibble while waiting for the Bride and Groom to return from the final photography session at the church following the ceremony.  

Of all the memories of that day, the 
overwhelming theme of them all is of overflowing love. Love between the Bride and Groom for each other. Love among the families for each of their members. Love poured out by those who assisted to make the reception flow so beautifully. Love from the guests for the married couple and their families. Love from the Body of Christ for each one present. Love from the Father for us all. 

Happy Anniversary, Michael and Boo! 
 May you always rest in the Father's perfect love. 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Today in History

Thirty four years ago two college sweethearts drove to a military hospital in California. It was very early in the morning--still dark, but they were still excited.  He was as low as they go, speaking of officers. A second lieutenant who was highly informed on the subject at hand, because she had insisted he educate himself. After the check in process they were directed to the special wing reserved for women in this condition. She made herself as comfortable as possible and watched "Sesame Street" for an hour as the hospital staff dashed in and out of the room like fish hunting for food in a crowded aquarium. She was distracted with the activity and the muppets, but he was as nervous as a puppy in a room full of toddlers.  

After an hour and a half she got serious about this mission and ordered the TV turned off. After all, she had rehearsed for this part and won the audition almost ten months earlier, and she was determined to give the performance of her life!  Lines had been memorized, songs had been added to the script, and all the props and sets were in place for the audience of medical personnel. 

In every performance there is an unknown factor. In this one, the villain was Pitocin.  The PIT. Administered in IV form it tends to turn a serial drama into a one act play with high drama and loud sound effects. That's right ladies and gentlemen, this was......drum roll please......... Natural Childbirth!  Military hospitals had few experiences with laboring mothers who asked to forego medications for pain. At twenty six days past the due date, twenty five years of age, and after seven and a half hours of labor interrupted often by the Doctor Colonel Fuhrer who wished to stick needles in her arms and "take her pain away",  and two hours of pushing, she gave birth to THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BABY GIRL on the planet. 
Our first child......Happy Birthday, CB!

We celebrated with her today at the Texas History Museum (pictured above) and watched "Under the Sea" in 3D with Em and Roo, JB, Grandpa, and Aunt Kaki. Before that we ate fabulous breakfast at Trudy's and tonight had THE chocolate cake: Mint Chocolate layer cake decorated with thin mints.  I suggested that we lay around in our hospital gowns as we did 34 years ago, but she said she outgrew hers. 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day

Like the intricacies in the stitches and colors of this baby afghan, the heritage of motherhood ripples through my bloodlines and shapes my relationships with my Mother, my daughters, and my grandchildren. 

On this page in a photograph book you can see some of my ancestors. They were hard working people who farmed and raised big families. My maternal great grandparents on one side raised thirteen children and all lived into their late 70's, 80's and 90's. The other side raised seven children to ripe old ages, having come from early circuit riding preachers themselves.

This is our oldest, CB, with Em and Roo. She inherited the teaching genes big time. Also the administrative gifts. This lady can teach in her sleep and wake up organized. She amazes me. Roo already has the organizing gene and Em is already mothering her baby dolls. I'm not the least bit concerned about future generations.

Here is Kaki, our youngest, who is still single. It's obvious that the genes are here too. She is playing with our youngest grandchild, Gracie. Her "real" job right now is investing her life in young children as a nanny for families with multiples. So far she has worked with 3-4 twin families, some who also have other children. Rumor is that she is interviewing with triplets now. She teaches so subtly that the kids never know she isn't playing with them! Also amazing.

Another shot of CB with Em and Roo--teaching them while they watch a show at Sea World. They may know the scientific names of all the sea creatures on the way home from the park. 

This is Nannie, my Mother. Although she devoted her life to being a stay at home mom until I was in college, I always knew she had the teaching gene. Recently I read some Montessori blog posts and had an epiphany. Mother employed almost all of the techniques recommended in over thirty of the posts to "entertain" me when I was a little girl.  That sneaky lady!

I don't think Boo, our second born, will love me for this photo, but already I see that she is teaching Jbear to be gentle with newborn Gracie. Look at how proud and protective he is. This was his first visit to see Gracie, but he remains so sweet and loving with her. We have zillions of photos of him kissing her. Boo prepared him well for a baby sister.

This photo almost cracks me up. I love it! This is our original Jbear, Joy, with Kaki about twenty four years ago.  To the left is Dolly, our adorable, but departed, Sheltie. Joy has the administrative gene also. You can see the determination in her face to control both the baby and the dog, even though the situation is clearly deteriorating. She is only four years old, but absolutely set on practicing her mothering skills. She will be a fabulous mommy some day.

Lest you think the generations have returned only domesticity, I added this photo. Joy bought the mug for Nannie. Two of a kind?

Not to neglect my paternal side in this post, I include this photo of four generations. My great grandmother raised 15 children, the last two were fraternal twins. She died at 96 and I remember her well. Standing in front is my Grandmother that we called Pickle. Pickle had four children, two boys and two girls. She worked hard and taught all her children to do equal work. The girls worked in the fields and learned something of farm mechanics, and the boys knew how to cook and sew. Muffin says my Daddy was more secure in his manhood, as was my uncle, than any other man he has known.  Pickle gave me a love for needle work that remains to this day. 

This is Nana, Muffin's Mom. She is the fifth of six children, three boys and three girls.  In this photo, which is twenty four years old, she is holding Kaki wrapped in a blanket that Nana made for her. Notice Joy is still taking lessons and being the baby sister protector.  Nana is, and has always been totally adorable. She gave my girls the gift of playing with laughter. In addition to Muffin, she has a daughter, Aunt Tracie, who also has two perfect children that are young enough to be great entertainment for Nana. They are all amazing, too. 

I absolutely could not find a great photo of my maternal grandmother, Grandmommy, who was the belle of the county as a girl, and who passed on a rich heritage of flawless administration in the kitchen and home. She also raised two children and cooked everything in the kitchen for every meal, then went to the garden and gathered more for the next one. "Tuffy" was her nickname, because she was not. Think about it.

So there you have the links in the chain stitch of our family.  I'm leaving out most of the juicy parts, because, well, you don't need to know everything.