Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One more time.......

I'm rushing around the house trying to get enough work done so that when the kids rush off the bus this afternoon, I won't feel a bit guilty sitting outside with them and drinking in the sunshine and breezes.
As i open the kitchen window, and rush of warm, sweet smelling air hits my face, and I'm transported back ......many many years ago, to a field, in Walpole N.H., and I see a little girl, freckles on her face, hair stuffed under a baseball hat, and her skinny bare knees green with grass stains.
I lived outside in my childhood, you couldn't keep me in, especially in the spring. All spring and summer, I roamed the alfalfa fields, and drank in the sweet smell, I played hide and seek with my brothers in the corn fields, cutting up our sun-burnt faces with the razor sharp leaves of the corn stalks. We hunted tadpoles and frogs in the endless creeks and ponds surrounding our house. I picked flowers all summer long, frolicked, ...yes, frolicked, for real, in fields of dandelions. Yellow fuzzy tops as far as the young tiny eye can see, perfect for rolling in and creating tunnels, and trying to not anger the equally fuzzy bumbly bees that were simply minding their own business and trying just as hard to avoid me. In late summer we picked giant leaves and grass cuttings, and in the streams we created with the hose, and dirt in the sides of our long semi-circle driveway, we built dams and fairy villages, even lego-scapes, and tried our best to thwart the poor ants attempts at simply living.
In the Spring though, i was on the hunt for one thing, Violets, my favorite flower in all the world. I love Roses almost as much, they are grand and beautiful in every color, and have so many variations, and are just regal and demand attention. I do love my roses, BUT, Violets, are like me .... at least I like to think so. :) They are simple, always the same, pretty, unassuming, and purple. My fave color, it stands for royalty. They are also shy, they hide in covered glens, under larger bushes, letting the Lilacs, and the roses get the sun, and the fame, and the immediate praise, but those who know where to look, will find these little gems just existing, happily in their little place on the planet.
Yes, I CAN make a metaphor out of anything! Just give me some time, I can make the most mundane thing look quite deep and mysterious! :D
I loved finding my violets, I used to imagine the faeries who danced on the leaves at dusk, and I never picked all of them, i left some for my tiny mystic friends. They are lovers of beauty too. My mother even had a few vases, just small enough for the first little bunch that I'd bring in, and she would set it on the kitchen window sill, and I'd keep it fresh as long as the lovelies were blooming.
Now I have spent laundry folding time thinking, and remembering, and writing, ahh well, that is what the sweet warm days of spring are for isn't it? Do you remember that feeling of laying on your back in the grass, with the "summer buzz" of insects and birds overhead, just staring up into the bright "September blue" sky, and thinking of all the things Life must hold, and how long it was going to take to grow up, and what on earth would I do with all the time I have today? The warmth of the sun beating down, just enough to keep you warm, and a breeze to keep it from being hot. The feeling of waking up there an hour later, the rested calm ....... ..... ...... I'd like one more childhood summer...... next time I see a genie, I think that will be my wish. :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

So, this is the second half of a post I wrote almost a two years ago exactly ........ Now i have time to finish, hopefully the memory too. :)

So, we made it down south, in the hot car, with no AC and probably too many kids is what my mom and at were thinking by the time we got there. The house was small, not the best of accommodations, but we really didn't notice, what we did notice was the nature around us. The geckos that were everywhere, the odd fact that it rained EVERY day, just a little in the morning. The GIGANTIC waves, we had never seen such surf. Our idea of "the beach" is a very New England one. Cold wet sand, a chance of sun, IF you go in August, IF your lucky, and maybe even water almost warm enough to enjoy swimming in. Oh my friends the awe! A beach, with white sand, and gigantic blue waves, that were WARM! Sun, bright, hot sun all day long, every day .... oh, and SUNBURN! Yeah, another New England mis-fire. We are not used to getting enough sun to actually worry about burning much. Well, we learned THAT lesson quick, and had to miss a couple days swimming because of it. Oh well!
We went to the Everglades national park, where we walked to boardwalk all over the swamps, looking for alligators and lizards, pelicans and all manner of wild plant life. It was absolutely fascinating to us.
One day we took a tour of the Everglades on Airboats, pictured above. Giant flat bottom boats with huge fans on the back of them, one of the best and fastses way to glide across the endless miles of swamp. The guy who took us out was "cousin Butch" I don't know his real relation to us, or do I officially know why in the world the guy own a homestead of types on an island in the middle of swamp no-where, but I do know, that on that day, after it had started raining, and we were soaked, and cold, and ready for comfort, that hut in the middle of who knows where, with warmth, and KFC brought with us, we like heaven. The first time I had KFC, I shall never forget the feeling of being so very far away from normal, and feeling so very comfy. Of course there were snakes too, one of which decided to travel in the cargo hold of a boat. Too bad the small Matt, (who Uncle Butch was afraid of loosing from a fast turn, and him flying off the boat) he had to travel in the cargo hold too, good thing we didn't know about the snake till we got back. :P
I remember eating catfish and hush-puppies. I remember Aunt Pearl, she was a sweetheart, she would rock baby amy to sleep on hot muggy nights, out on the screened in porch, singing southern Lullabies in her ear. I remember my some distant cousin of mine, being loud, and remembering one line each from dozens of songs, cause he would watch the record ads on TV and that's all he knew. He would walk around singing .... "Please help me I'm Faaalliiing!"
I remember being tired, and thinking that Mom and Aunty must be about "tuckered out from this VERY long trip and were not looking forward to the three days of return trip.
I remember a restaurant we stopped at on the way home called "Lizard's Thicket". It was done in Southwestern decor, and there were lizards everywhere, not real ones, stone ones, carved on the pottery, the walls, everywhere. The food was distinctly southern, and yummy, and it was the first time I ate Apple jelly, from a little packet on the table, it felt like Rich livin'. :) When we left, My grandpa gave us a gift. Tickets to go to Epcot Center! That was most certainly a highlight of our trip. It don't remember alot of the visit, a few rides, like the boat that went through all different cities, some space ride, seeing all the different countries, and of course the gift shop, where we got all kinds of mementos, mostly with rainbows on them, it WAS the 90's after all. :)
One of the hotels we stayed in, think the last one before home, was a REAL hotel. We had been staying in motels, the little one story things with sketchy pools, and no free anything, cheap and easy. The last one however, was a big Holiday inn, with food, and an elevator, and an INDOOR pool! It was the high life, it really was. :)
Yeah so that's our super exciting long trip down to Florida. It was our biggest adventure so far. When I think about it now, I am in awe, of our Mom's taking on this trip. I don't know that I would do it, with just my two kids. They did a great job, making it fun, managing to let us do so much stuff, with a baby, and sunburn, and family stress, to us, it was just one big fun trip. Job well done Mom! :D

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Varnadore/Lewis Cookouts

It's an old saying, but true, that life in the 50's moved at a slower rate. Tradition was huge and certainly our family, Varnadore and Lewis, had theirs. I wish you had known what it was like to be a part of the cook outs this bunch of folks could throw.

My maternal grandmother, Ida Mae Johnson, grew up in a large family. Three daughters married three Lewis boys, also of a large family. From this framework, two of those couples raised their children in Milford, CT. It produced many aunts, uncles and cousins for me and my sister. So we became very close to Ida and James Lewis' children --my mom Eula, her brother Jim (Uncle Dubby) to me, and my Aunt Judy, who for a time, also lived close. From this produced my cousins, Jimmy, Linda, Cindy, Jeffrey, Cathie and Debbie. Not to mention all the other cousins from the other 2 brothers who married the Lewis girls. To say our Family Cookouts were full of people is an understatement!

Most of these cookouts, for whatever occasion, were held at my house on Coe Lane in Ansonia, or at Uncle Otha's in Milford CT. Both houses at that time , afforded lots of woods for the kids to explore while the adults visited.

The day would begin with the trip to the ice house with my grandfather to get a big chunk of ice for the sodas. Then to my grandfather's hot dog stand to pick up the wooden cases of soda for the event. Some time there was a parade to go to or be in at the start of the day. My Dad would go in the back yard to be sure the grass was cut and the horseshoe pits were clean and in good shape. Then down into the cellar to pull out the badminton set. Lastly, the ping pong table would have to be set up. I would dream that maybe maybe THIS day I would beat my Uncle Dubby at ping pong. But he was brutal and that never happened! At any rate, I knew later in the evening maybe I could beat him or Dad at Chinese Checkers. My phone number, which I still remember, 203-735-3566 was the number for the one black phone in the kitchen from which all calls were made for a very long time. There were no cell phones, video games, DVRs , CD players etc to distract our carrying out of this event.

The sodas were in glass bottles and gleamed as they sat under the mulberry tree, chilling. Pepsi of course for my Uncle Dubby , orange, grape, root beer, Coke. The grill we used at our house was unique, in that my Dad who had been a welder for awhile, had made it. It was made of sold steel and weighed a ton. The side dishes that were laid out by this group of southern women, was to die for.
But what I remember the most was how much the adults were happy and joking, playing games with kids and adults alike.Invariably, as the day wore on, songs were sung, maybe a banjo would come out or a harmonica. Someone would yodel! "Poor ole" Kaw-liga" would be sung in southern tradition. The adults would visit to long into the evening and the kids would go outside to play hide and seek in the dark and catch fireflies. There was time for everyone that day and not one had a clock to watch.
One other very fond memory I have is when we took these cook outs to the public park in Bridgeport CT ,where multiple baseball games were going on by the men, as the women cooked on the grassy areas surrounding the games and the kids crossed the street to take a dip in the ocean. Such wonderful wonderful times to grow up in. I feel very blessed to have been a part of that time in the 50's. So wish you had known those times with me....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Daddy's Armory

Oh so many memories, It is so odd to me that so much life was lived before my younger brothers David and Jacob were even a blip on the screen. It is sad too, that they missed out on some of my best memories, although, knowing my family, they have been building quite a long list of their own great memories. This is why I am trying to keep this blog up and going, so they can read and get a glimpse of what it was like when us "older kids" were the pipsqueaks, when we were the ones in trouble all the time, when WE were the ones Mom thought would surely make her age far beyond her years. Today, a new wave of fabulous memories came back, and how 'I wish you had' been around to know all about daddy's Armory

The years we lived in Walpole NH, our Dad worked in the National Guard, he was one of a handful of people who kept a daily presence at the Armory across the river from us in Westminster VT. We knew the place well. We would visit him often, sometimes bringing him lunches, sometimes we stayed there if Mom needed to go somewhere without us. We were there on weekends, we knew the people that worked there, they were like our family. One in particular was Denise Mathieu's ..( I know I didn't spell that right!) He was a big grown up kid, he liked when we came in, and sat and used the computers, played golf with his putting green, he even took us out for Ice cream once in his new, white,  Toyota Supra, top down, just us kids, and Amy at the wheel, in his lap ... only on the back road of course. :D
We knew the grounds, the firing range downstairs, the Motor Pool out back where the tanks were, the woods all around, and the sand pits way way back down the dirt road, where they ran tank maneuverer's and had a little fun sometimes.
We had Hunter safety training there, Matt did Karate classes there. On Saturdays a club for RC cars met there and had races. We got to come sometimes and help with the pit crew, running into the track to remove dead cars, running for spare parts helping in the kitchen.
We did Christmas parties every year, someone was Santa, every kid got a gift. One year we even had an elf! The food cooked by the cook "Roollie" (that was his name right dad?) He could cook! To us anyway, :) We loved the buffet of turkey, gravy, potatoes, cranberry jelly, and the baked apple's wrapped in pie crust! SOOOO yummy.
When the guys had to go away for AT (Annual Training) every summer, they would be gone for a month or so. We had parties when they came home. We would wait on the overpass to see the convoy coming in on the interstate, we'd wave and shout, and then book it over to the Armory where we had a spread of food ready for the tired guys, and all the families dressed up and clean and itching to hug their soldier. They came in with a cloud of dust and a deep ground shaking rumble. Duec and a halfs, Humvee's, jeeps, and pickups. All painted in green forest Camo. rolling in on the dirt road. I can still feel the grit, and smell the diesel, as they rolled in, some parking in the armory, others out in the parking lot. The chaos of getting everyone there, and parked, and lined up and accounted for, and then, BREAK! They all run to the people waiting for them, the dusty green duffel's all get thrown onto the cement floor. The hats come off, and the jackets, and they eat, and wolf down food, and then, you can see all they want is a couch, and a nap. So then, we all take our soldiers, and their dusty, smelly green gear and head home. After a re-connect with everyone, and a change into non-army clothes, Dad would melt into a comfy surface and catch up on some sleep, while his gear aired out under and on the clothes line. To get rid of dust, diesel, and of course "chiggers" the dreaded bug Daddy was afraid to bring home from Texas. We played and ran and played for hours, re-enacting the stories he had told us of the trip he just took.
There were "tank Ride" days. Where Dad would invite the church to come over to the Armory for Tank rides. We did PT with the soldiers, we got free pencils and other ARMY gear, we played basketball in the indoor court, we gave tours, since we knew the place so well, we got to help with a lot of it. We watched soldiers compete in "gun assembly", showing us the importance of proper equipment care and readiness. Of course the big even was the walk down to the Motor pool. There sat the gigantic Tanks. Dad loaded us up on top and a sometimes, a few lucky ones got to ride IN the tanks. They drove to the sand pits, and took us on rides to rival any roller coaster. Up and down the hills of dirt, around and around, fast, slow, up and down. It was a rush, and so cool to be the kid whose Dad made it all happen!
One year they got new tanks. What an exciting day! We all went down to the Green Mountain RR station, which we had driven by dozens of times, and never actually stopped to wait for a train. This was quite a train! The newspaper was there, a little crowd of people, all waiting to see the new tanks. Eric, Matt and I put coins on the tracks, (we'd heard that when you did that, they get flattened by the train, but imagine, a train with 3 TANKS on it?) yeah they were pretty much destroyed.
When the tanks came in, on big flatbed cars ( i think?), they were tan, Desert Tan, the first time we had seen that. Up till the Iraq war, everything we had seen was green, this was our introduction to the tan that everyone now knows as normal. They were taken off the cars, or something, that part I don't remember. HOWEVER, I do remember them being driven down the streets of the small town Bellows Falls. What a sight it was! Little stores, and Victorian houses, people walking to the ice cream window, being passed by huge, new, tan tanks, rolling along to the Armory. We got to follow, in a caravan, very proud that we were involved in it all. Then of course, they had to go try them out! I remember a husband and wife TC and driver taking one out, with Katie and I along for the ride. The driver was going nuts, having a blast with it, testing it out properly, however, after one  particularly scary move, the TC (tank commander = his WIFE) yelled into the com, "Maybe you can slow down a little?"
driver "No way lady! I am the first one to take it out, i'm gonna put it through it's paces!"
TC = "Well be fore-warned, I have SGT Akins' Daughter and niece up here with me!"
He slowed down, a little, but not after an evil laugh. It was a Fabulous day!

I loved the smell of the place, motor oil, chalk dust, boot polish, coffee and diesel. The sound of the polished cement floors, the feel of the chalkboards in the classrooms with the movable walls and folding chairs and tables. The old wooden desks, the squeaky chairs, the glass show cases of trophies and medals and plaques and newspaper clippings, all documenting the history of their division.
This is probably the reason I love trucks, and loud engines, and the smell of diesel. This would be the reason behind my wedding limo actually being a green Camo HumVee. When we moved to Rutland, although I visited the Armory where Dad worked several times, and appreciated the same feel of the place, it was never really "Dad's Armory" to me. I do remember when they got a new HUM-Vee though, he brought it home, much to our glee, and decided, since we live in the woods, what better place to test it out? SO, much in the fashion of the old days, he loaded us up, and took it for a spin. It was a flashback to days gone WAY BY, and then, when he let Eric, (newly enlisted? Private Atkins? Sooo long ago!) take the wheel, it was a jump to the present, and a little sad, thinking about how much was changing, but, not so very much different, and still, how much I missed those fun days exploring Daddy's armory.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ice Skating

As I sit and watch the Olympics, and anxiously await my favorite sports, mostly the figure skating events. This year has been the best in a long time, as I am online and can chat with my cousin about the skaters, and the routines, and the costumes, and of course, how much we love Scott Hamilton. :)

Ice Skating has been a passion for most of my life, thankfully, Eric, Matt, and even Amy all shared the love for the sport, along with my siblings, I had Katie and Chris, and most of our friends, most of the winter was spent watching the weather, looking for good ice making weather, so the ponds would freeze solid, then enough time to get out and shovel them off, before the snow sat on them too long and pitted the surface. If it got warm, we would hope for a quick melt then a fast solid freeze again ... like we really had ANY control whatsoever. :)
When the Olympics came around we were ALL ABOUT the skating, we knew each skater, their strengths and weaknesses, we knew where they stood in the ranks, we knew how the scoring worked, we spent hours talking about it, reviewing the performances the next day as we skated in the cornfields and tried to imitate their talents.
There was a rink, about 30 minutes south in Brattleboro, there were Saturdays where we would all go for "homeschool skate" a time where it was mostly "us" as in, all our friends, skating together, on BIG real ice, it was fun. Mom usually left us there for several hours while she shopped or relaxed, :) we skated the day away, once a week, for about two to three months.
Then, Eric got his license, and it got kicked into overdrive. We got a years pass, then we went on Sat AND SUN, then we went on Wednesdays, pretty soon, we were there 5 times a week, Mon-Wed-and Fri nite, then saturday afternoons and sunday evenings. We knew the people who ran the place, we knew the skating guards, we knew the regulars, well, we WERE the regulars! They started letting Eric, Matt, Chris Katie and I skate from 9-10 for the "adult skate" on Sunday Nights. As long as we didn't go nuts, or get too loud. On nights when it was basically just us, they would even play our music for us, and we did our "routines" to it.
In those late hours, we learned SO much! We skated with instructors, who saw our love of the sport, they would coach Katie and I on the finer points of footwork, and how to do a few simple jumps. They gave us a wide berth to practice speed and spins and crazy moves. It was so much so much fun!
Eric would come home from work, tired and exhausted, and eat dinner, and pile us in his little ford escort, and drive an hour each night in snow and sleet and freezing temps, and never complained, he loved the sport, and if we did too, then more fun for all of us. Often on Sunday nights and sometimes Saturday afternoons he would take us through the drive through at McD's and we'd fill the tiny car with the smells of sweaty smelly skates, warm wet mittens and fast food. All the while, U2 is cranked on the radio and we are singing at the top of our lungs.
We had our mishaps, one 'near miss' speeding warning one late night on RTE 5, some run-ins with the skating guards over our speed on the ice, some personnel issues with some of the regulars, practical jokes going back and forth with Matt, myself and the snack shop dudes **I think though, it was Eric who switched the Coke and Root Beer soda tanks on him one Saturday heeh classic!** , and of course there were the injuries.
We were FAST, and we were trying tricks people practice for years, we were just throwing ourselves into these jumps, and spins, and we even tried some of them in Hockey skates. THAT may have been a bad idea. :) I tried a lutz jump one Sunday night, in Hockey skates, and it is a jump that requires having toe picks, so, NOT having those, i went UP and then came DOWN, and landed on ONE knee cap, all I remember is coming down, thinking ... "hmm not a good thing" the next thing I know, I'm laying flat on my back, looking up at everyone who had been skating,now surrounding me, looking at me like i was dead. Seems the sound my knee made hitting the ice, stopped everyone in their tracks, so, i was the only one who didn't see my fall :D
Eric, being the good big brother he was wanted so badly to call the ambulance, but I was dumb and stubborn and wouldn't let him I thought I would skate again that evening, I had 2 1/2 hours to go, I'd be fine......... or not :P It swelled so big, I almost cut my jeans off that night it was so hard to get them off, and it didn't go all the way down till late spring. oops!
Our entire lives revolved around skating, in the winter, we lived at the rink with our skating friends, and we loved it. Katie and I bought professional leather figure skates one year, and nursed blisters for a whole year to break them in. In the summer we spent our time trying new jumps in Rollerblades, trying to work on our footwork, and saving for new skates, I had the professional leather ones, and then of course being a tomboy, had to get authentic hockey skates too!
When Eric left for the Army, it was never the same, partly cause it got WAY more expensive! with the pass, and the gas, and food! ALso, he was such a big presence on the ice, the kids in the rink LOVED him, they followed him all across the rink. He skated on hockey skates like they were figure skates, and part of his body, it was artistic. Even now when I hear U2 songs, I see him skating to it and doing air guitar with a trail of little kids imitating his every move.
It was more than skating, it was bonding, with our friends, and mostly the three of us older siblings. When Amy was able to come, i know she felt so grown up, and loved the time in Eric's car, with the music, and singing, and of course the happy meals he would buy her.
Skating will always be a love of mine, every time i get on the ice, I feel the chill, and the rush, and I want to go fast, and dance, and jump and then i realize I'm 15 years older, and not as practiced, and then there is that knee, with the cracked knee cap, heh.
How I wish you could have been part of our Skating Days, I know I treasure the memories, they will be the stories I tell for years, and never tire of. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Many many ...oh many years ago, we used to travel to Roanoke Virginia on a fairly regular basis. See, that is where our family lived. Meemaw and Papaw lived there, Uncle Jack and Aunt Judy lived there, along with a smattering of other family members who always showed up to check out the next generation of "Atkins' Kids" It wasn't the best place in the world to vacation, nor was it always the easiest family visit of the year, but it WAS family, and I have many fond memories that I would like to share with the younger set of my family who missed out on knowing these folks as well as i did.
The apartment I remember was small, dark, near a fire station, and had a LONG narrow staircase. The bathroom I remember had a very old, deep clawfoot tub. It was HOT, box windows fans will take me back to that place every time. :)
We were always greeted with Hugs, and the smell of something wonderfully southern cooking for dinner. There was a certain scent, a mixture of cigarette smoke, grease, and sausage gravy. It was wonderful to me, it meant i was with Meemaw, and Papaw, and Uncah Zak! I was one of his favorite kids, he loved to swing me around by arms and give me airplane rides, which I am pretty sure Mom scolded him for, since he DID do it in the hall pretty close to the steps.:)
I remember fishing, Dad and Jack went fishing, and sometimes we got to go. I remember walking to the corner market with Meemaw, and being in awe of "city life".
I remember two pictures on the wall, of my twin Aunts, not that much older than me really, I would try to remember meeting them, imagining where they were, what they were doing, amazed by tenia who was in the Navy. I didn't know girls did that! :)
I remember playing yahtzee, lots of coffee, and Papaw "bein' crazy" as meemaw would say. He just wanted to show Eric how to target shoot. Guess she didn't like him doing it into trash cans in the alleyway two stories down. :)
Lots of my memories of them there are fragments of moments, little things, smells and words. Whenever we play yhatzee, or sit around drinking coffee and tellin' stories, when i make a perfect batch of buscuits or fabulous sausage gravy, i think of them. Meemaw would be proud, papaw woudn't tolerate that, Uncah Zak would be laffin' When we played Yhatzee, Meemaw, when she got a good roll, she'd say "thank ya" Dad and papaw would get "all fired up" over how "some people" grouped cards in Gin Rummy. Unle Jack would just laugh.
We lost Uncah Zak last week. SO sad, and sudden. I kept seeing his laughing face, hearing his raspy voice on the phone ... "Hey Sara! This is yer Uncah Zak! How's mah Princess doin?" Roanoke feels a little empty now, we were there, and nothing is the same to me, except ... the star, on the hill. A big white star sits on the hill illuminated every night. SOme things don't change.
As we went our ways one night this weekend, My cousin Patrick and I had the same thought. Meemaw and Papaw and Jack, they were in heaven, with endless coffee, and probably just breaking out the yhatzee dice.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flowers by the wayside .....

My son calls me impatiently from his car seat ..
"Mommy! What are you doing?"

That's a good question, WHAT am i doing?? I'm wading through waist high weeds, I'll probably go home with ticks, or worse, poison ivy! UGH. Then, i see it, the reason I am here ..... and I laugh, as a memory comes spilling over me.

Many many years ago, how many exactly need not be said, however, it was the year I graduated from High school, I also sat in a car, calling to my mother,
"MOM! Are you for real? Will you get in the car? This is nuts! People will see you!"

See, I was home schooled, and that makes my "graduation" something unique. I was the only member of the class of 1995. I also didn't really finish till sometime in June. So, my party was July, with a lovely 4th of July theme. My parents still had two kids in school, and two more upcoming, and the oldest ready to go into the Army. Dad was a full time National Guardsman, Mom was obviously a full time stay at home mom, and schoolteacher. Money wasn't something that flowed in our house, we were creative, we made every penny stretch.

So, when it came to decor, and flowers, My mother had a brainstorm. Somewhere, in the fields below My dad's Armory, were huge patches of Black eyed Susans. Wouldn't they be lovely with the red white and blue? Oh yes, they will, lets go get some!

This is how I found myself sitting in the van, with the patience of an 18yr old who thinks she is the smartest most important person alive, totally embarassed by my mom, wading out into the knee deep weeds, and coming out with armfulls of flowers. Stalks nearly as tall as her, with the roots and all still attatched. SHe dragged them over, and put them in her nice new van, dirt and all.

As we drove home, she with a VERY smug smile on her face, and me shaking my head and giggling, she told me a story, about HER mother, my Nana. My Nana was a lover of flora, she could grow anything, she loved beautiful flowers, and she rarely denied herself. She had a habit of driving along, seeing flowers she liked and hoping out of the car to pick them. Wild or not, they were beautiful, and she wanted them in her house. LOL The ones I remember were Cattails and Pussy willows, she showed me the places to go to find them, and how to pick them.

My Graduation Party was perfect, and the table was lovely, all red white and blue, and splashed with the bright yellow flowers. I will never look at them without thinking of that day, and My mom. I guess it's where I got the "bug" for flowers, for wild ones, I guess it's why I find myself out in this feild in late July,picking these black and yellow flowers, as my children sit and wonder why their Mommy is nuts.

Even for my wedding, the church was decorated with flowers grown in a friends garden, specifically for the event. Recently i heard a rumor that my mother stopped on the way to the annual church campout, with my cousins little girl in the car, welcome to our family heather! See, you can't pick the flowers in the state park, you get in trouble for it, My sister found THAT out. So, my mom stopped on the way, by the side of the highway and picked a little bouquet for her Campsite picnic table. The funny thing was, this story was forming in my mind the week before, and when I got to camp and heard the story, I was convinced this had to be documented. It doesn't seem this trend is ending anytime soon.