As I listen for the whistle, lie awake and wait. Wish the railroad didn't run so near, 'Cause the rattle and clatter of that old fast freight keeps a-makin' music in my ear. The Kingston Trio, a famous folk group from the fifties, made that a very popular tune. They must have camped at “Fishhook Park,” on the Snake River in the site furthest from the entrance and nearest to the where the rails curve. (Buttercup waving at a regular) I would say the train went by at least every 70 minutes. Day and Night. Maybe we’ve never camped so close to the tracks in years past. Maybe there has been an increase in rail traffic. Maybe I’m just getting old. (The Snake at Sunset)
Showing posts from July, 2006
My hubby's late dad was a World War II and Korean War Vet. Here are some excerpts from a letter: Korea, December 1950. It was onion skin paper, written on both sides, and the writing shows through when I scan it. Dear Mom and Dad, Well, guess I better write you a letter, as I haven't done so in quite some time. I don't have any excuse, except that we have been fairly busy. As you'll probably have heard by now, we evacuated Hung Nan. That was really a deed to see, no fooling. Such an array of ships, boats, soldiers, gunfire, and Koreans, I've never seen. It took us just about 4 days of continual work (24 hour days) to get 30,000 troop, and God only knows how many trucks, jeeps, tanks and artillery. Then, while the last G.I's were being taken off the beach, the V.D.T. men, along with some of us from the Begar, carried in and set T.N.T. and dynamite all up and down the dock and industrial area. Then at 2:15 p.m., the whole works went up. Well, we were about 1000 ya
It didn’t take long for the small caravan of cars in the funeral procession to reach the cemetery after leaving the church. Arlington, Oregon is a very small town that is nestled within the path of a steep canyon that drops in to the Columbia River. The graveyard is set on a high bluff with a vertical drop overlooking the town and the rocky outcroppings into which it has slowly stretched over the past few years. The mourners moved toward the burial site accompanied only by the sounds of their shoes in the gravel a nd a breeze whistling down from the higher cliffs. The preacher held his Bible for a moment of silence. At that instant, the familiar strains of a bagpiper's Amazing Grace began to waft over the hills. As though merging with the survivor’s tears, the continuous notes poured over them and on down into the slow churning water of the mighty Columbia. The family members nodded their gratitude to each other for the thoughtful tribute. About fifteen minutes before this scene
My neighbor grows elephant garlic. I've never seen an elephant there to claim it, but I'll take his word for it. Perhaps the next time my grandchildren visit, we will put on our hats and safari shoes and go on Pachyderm Patrol. (To the music from The Jungle Book.) Maybe there is one hiding in there right now. Check it out!
I woke up early with thoughts engaging my mind like a secretary thumbing through a rolodex. (Which is the T-rex of Address Books for those gen-x minds who want to know.) It was either lie there and be miserable, or brew an early pot of coffee, some new hummer nectar, then sit on the patio and sigh. The camera went with me and there were some fantastic photo ops. The sun shining between the cedar fencing highlighted a gazillion gnats swarming inches above the green and freshly watered sod. A hummingbird checked out the fresh beverage closest to the patio and then buzzed on its way. I was reminded of some poem about crows when three landed on the farthest posts and eyed me as though I was an interloper. My camera was pointing and clicking. None of the pictures were inspiring. Even the pictures I snapped of some spider webs caught in the dawning rays were dreary. I put the camera away. After enjoying some alone time on the patio, I was joined by the hubby and we discussed his project ov
The last three years we've enjoyed a flight of doves that have made their home in our neighborhood. Did you know that their family could also be called a dole of doves? I think I heard my dad once mention a piteousness of Doves. Perhaps that was an old word to describe the mournful little melody you hear as they survey the ground from a high tree limb. When the Mourning Doves take flight - a shrill chirping sound is made as the air passes through their wing feathers. The Contessa, our cat, made her first contact last month with several dove in the flower bed. One became aware of her approach and flew up suddenly in noisy response. So did The Contessa. After scoring a "10" in a reverse flip she rushed back to the house to hide under the couch. (She doesn’t get out much!) Our little flight sit in the maple tree and ask "who ARE' you" in the early morning and then again, later in the evening. No matter how often I answer them, they just keep on asking. Sho
Bird calls before the alarm rings The window opened wide Awake The sun peaking over the eastern mountains The reflection on the patio table Morning coffee Window shades up in my parked car Sunglasses perched on my nose Sunblock The silhouettes of the buildings next to my office Shadows moving in opposition to the sun Sidewalk simmers Abundant fields, brown and gold The combines dance in the distance Harvest music Kids cannonball in the neighbor’s pool A barbecue wafts enticing invitation Warm friends Dark clouds rolling like monster trucks Lightening and thunder tracks in the valley Smell rain The western horizon painted crimson and mauve Smoke from forest fires burns eyes Beauty from ashes Crickets and frogs in competing chorus The open window an orchestra seat Summer lullaby
After the little episode with our new cat Tessie, I found myself thinking back to all the pets to which we have belonged. My most devoted sovereign was the late Karl Von Schwartz. I purchased him during the Gulf War and had considered naming him Schwarzkopf, after the General. My daughters thought he should be named Schwarzenegger, after The Terminator. We compromised. All of us remember the first day he was at our house and the hubby was miffed at me. “We don’t need another dog!” he’d huffed. “Freebea” was our “dee-oh’-gee,” a mixed breed female that the kids and I had brought home 5 years earlier in somewhat the same fashion. “Isn’t she cute, can’t we keep her?” That was the similarity; the difference was that Freebea was free and Karl had a price tag. Maybe I was especially persuasive or maybe he just couldn’t resist the cute little black and brown ball of fuzzy bear fur? Okay, he gave in. The coddled runt of the litter, Karl was ‘not for sale’ said the breeder. The entire tail was
The Contessa is the cat I knew that was mine when I convinced the hubby to stop at the animal shelter some months ago. They gave her a clean bill of health, and they gave me an adoption fee. We were told that her elderly owner had passed away and none of the family wanted Tessy. I wanted her. We’ve enjoyed the times she has crawled into our laps and chest to press faces – I’m sure to say thank you. On the other hand, she has not been very receptive to our stroking or petting her. Sometimes she has seemed angry. Several times we thought something was wrong with her belly, but she wouldn’t let us roll her over and inspect it. This week the hubby said, “I’m taking Tessy in to see the docs, I just think something isn’t right.” The “docs” are actually two semi-retired veterinarians who have added four young new ones to fill in the ranks. To those two ‘old’ docs we have trusted every dog or cat that has owned us before we ever met, and all during our soon to be 30 years together. We were sho
It Came. Today It Came. The Sister Study Kit Came Today. Toenails are history. But something else in the letter has made me delightfully delirious. They are sending someone over to pick up, and I quote: " completed questionnaires and your urine specimen, toenail clippings ....AND DUST SAMPLES." Please join me in my little flight of fancy ------- Come on down to the dust cellar. 2006 was a bumper crop. However, we had some other years that might intrigue you. Our 1975 label was very nicely balanced, because there were only three sets of stomping feet. How about a sample from 1977; that was when we added the "snoop" dynamic. Oh! Try this sample from 1980 - it will give you a hint of Mt. St. Helens. The 81 variety was a nice crush from all the 'walking the floor' with "the cakers" in arms. Now this nice blush was produced when the top half of my two-piece came off on the water slide. Another tempting decanter we can open and let breathe is a '96 w
I'm going crazy because I haven't trimmed my toenails in several weeks. The excuse that my round belly gets in the way and I can't bend over is logical. A pedicure at the salon would handle that nicely. But, I can't do that. My toenails are growing for my sisters and for my daughters. Last year I signed up for The Sister Study . A month ago I became an official participant, and committed the next ten years to the cause. My eldest sister Nelda died of cancer in 1994. My sis who just lost her husband, is a cancer survivor: Breast cancer and Melanoma. Those are not good odds for me or my third sis, Trish. Plus, I have three beautiful daughters. If ANYTHING I could add to this wonderful campaign can reduce the menace of cancer in their lives, I am willing. Lord, I am willing. So, here I sit, growing toenails because the Sisters Kit was suposed to be here two weeks ago. In addition to toenail clippings, all kinds of samples are required for the study. Someone will even come
I was reading Notes from the trenches as she commented on the continuing, but probably unintended, cruelty of peoples remarks about her large family. I found myself dreaming back to many years ago and what I experienced as the youngest of eight. I didn't know we were poor. I thought people stared at us 'cuz we were so good looking. My sisters and I sang when we did dishes. There were loads - and we were the closest thing to automation in the house. Mom activated us by pointing her ‘don’t start with me” finger. I shared a bed with my just older sis until I was eight. Even after that, there was always someone to crawl in bed with when I had a nightmare. My sis tells me I was the nightmare when she woke up in my occasional accident. (Sorry, sis.) My two oldest brothers picked me up and threw me back and forth between them when they got home from school. It never occurred to me that my friends never had the pleasure of being a wiffle ball. We ALWAYS sat around our old wooden t
I read my daughters blog Dreaming What Ifs........ and took the bait to do this quiz. so TAG if you read this!! 1. The book nearest me – A Catholic Woman’s Book of Days (Amy Welborn) I’m not Catholic, but it was recommended by The Anchoress and she doesn’t steer you wrong. Wonderful daily devotional to get your mind turning and your heart yearning. 2. Stretch out your left arm, what do you touch? – A stream of sunlight coming through the glass sliding doors. Oh, look! The little floaters sparkle like pixie dust. 3. Last thing watched on television? – Tour de France. The hubby is our avid cyclist and he was starting to snore. I snuggled over against him for a moment just in time to watch several riders dressed like peacocks tumble. It gave me an idea about my next watercolor. 4. Without looking what time is it? Time to kiss a grandchild. 5. What is the actual time? 8:01a.m Do you know where your (groan) children are? 6. With the exception of the computer what can you hear? The
Allie belongs to my neighbor Bill. In actuality, Allie is the neighborhood dog. She sits on her porch and watches all the activity on our street. She knows who belongs and who doesn’t. Not only is she aware of the mailman’s required arrival time, she also supervises when a new kid takes over the newspaper route. She knows which dog or cat belongs at which house and how many times she can chase the sparrows from the Quince bush to the juniper shrub before they quit flying. Squirrels are another game entirely. Every car engine she has in her ear memory is matched to the owner’s house. By the time the car turns down our extra long street Allie is already at the garage door ready to greet the owner and get her pat on the head, or if she’s lucky - and she usually is - a dog biscuit. Allie even knows the flight pattern of the local airport traffic. She only reacts to something off schedule or out of the ordinary. The full moon fascinates her. She used to cower and peak from beneath the bush
The Bank Swallows wouldn't pose. We went out last night to watch them off cottonwood road at dusk. They nest in the dirt banks where the road cuts through the rolling fields. The wind was blowing and the birds were riding it like surfers catching the waves; the wheat fields were ebbing and flowing in breezy harmony. (The insects come out in hordes in the cool of the evening.) Because I got discouraged with the birds, I turned my new little digital camera towards this farm equipment. It's probably taking a well-deserved rest at the end of the season. .
We spent weeks removing rocks from our back yard. And then the hubby went out and bought more rocks ! A truck with a dump bed delivered that 1000 pound rock one day last week and left it on our driveway. The hubby contemplated several plans that would transport it around to THE BACK YARD. He's so very good at making plans. His final strategy was to employ a pallet dolly and the muscles of several of his former co-workers: the firefighters. He stopped in at the fire station and dropped some hints about trying to move this BIG rock. There didn't seem to be much enthusiasm for his project and he heard nothing more. No response, no pallet dolly. Now what? What a suprise when the doorbell rang at 7:30 on The Fourth of July and there stood seven firefighters, muscles flexed. With their challenge juices rolling they said, "We're here to move your rock." The hubby said, "I don't have a pallet dolly!" They said, "We'll figure it out." They looke
I’ve been reluctant to talk about death because it makes me so angry. My brother in law B.R. died on May 18. My sister, and her three adult children knew his death was imminent, yet knowing doesn’t ease the horrible pain. BR’s battle against pancreatic cancer was fought on two fronts, his and my sis. Together they took the three-month prognosis and stretched it into sixteen. That last day, my sis, in her strength and dignity, lay on the hospice bed beside her love and companion of 44 years. She whispered memories of the life they shared, promised him that she would see him in a better place, and gave him permission to seek the peace that was beckoning him. There in her arms he died. B.R. had a big dog named Kodiak. There is an odd thing about dogs, especially a companion of many years. They seem to take on their owner’s dispositions, quirks, and even their health issues. Yes, Kodiak had cancer. He’d been fighting it for about the same amount of time as B.R. My sis had spent the last 18
This very shy and nervous little bird has a nest in the Euonymus shrub on the gate leading to our neighbor’s yard. The shrub is under three towering maple trees that are well over 100 years old. It's very secluded and shady. I sat quietly on a step-stool and got cramps in my bum in order to capture this picture. (Yes – we bought a new camera after I dropped the old worthless out of date prehistoric model that the lens clicked about a second after you pushed the button and I don’t feel so mad at myself anymore.) She was camera shy and faster than the shutter speed. Sorry it isn't very clear. My contact at the Audubon Society has confirmed it is a Song Sparrow. They are supposedly a very common bird across the country, but they have physical differences depending on where you live. That is probably why I thought it was a Lincoln’s Sparrow. (The native birds are not as common as are the imported house sparrows and Starlings. Bullies) What attracted me to this bird, besides the dai
Today I need to start sketching my redheaded girl . It’s part of my plan to do a watercolor portrait of each of my grandchildren. I never knew that something so much fun could be so difficult. Or, is it the other way around? Little Buddy was my first grandchild. His was also the first (and only, so far) portrait that I have completed, signed, and framed. At ten, he can beat me at every video game, but still wants to be cuddled at bedtime and be told, again, the story that you made up just for him. (He has it memorized.) I often recall his first moment of life, as I was there. Wish I could have been there this summer when he hit his first home run. Because he is my favorite, I want to be there for every first. Lttle buddy & My Red-Headed G irl a few years back My Red Headed Girl is probably going to grow up to be an attorney. We talk about serious things of which most 9 year olds are clueless. We also talk of fun things, and she can match me eyebrow for eyebrow for sarcasm and pu
It was just a quiet walk at the end of the day, then a desperate run back to the house to grab the digital camera. We missed capturing the most magnificant part of the sunset, but you can see some of the interesting pattern still remained in the right quadrant. As a painter I recognized the brush strokes pulling in the color from behind the gold edges. Don't you wonder what causes the sky to look like someone's canvas? I've tried to duplicate that gilded edge and the shadow behind it on 140 cold press. I've failed - but as Scarlet O'Hara said, "There's always tomorrow!"
From our house to yours. Memories from Independence Day past. Hey grandkids, this is grandpa, and the USS Ray. He was stationed on this nuclear submarine out of Norfolk, VA. (No, grandpa doesn't really walk on water, only in grandma's eyes.) Today we're blessed with a short visit from our California grandkids who are here in town with their dad. We played some video games, donned our sunhats to walk down to the end of the road to feed the neighbors horse some cut up apples ----------------------> and dressed up for fun \/ \/ We watched The Sand Lot, one of the best movies ever. Later their dad is picking them up to take them to the celebration in the park and then do their own fireworks display at their other grandma's house. Thanks to all who made our country free.
THE BACK YARD was all prepped and ready for …… what? Seed? Hydro-seed? Sod? We needed to hasten our decision for two reasons. 1) We wanted grass, soon! 2) The weatherman said summer was roarin’ in hot, dry, and fast. We immediately discounted planting seed. Too hot. It had to be either Hydro seed or $ od. That dollar sign was the deciding vote. Hydro-seed it was. We called the company and they were scheduling appointments 3 days out…. Monday morning was our turn. Midnight, one more night without sleepin.' Watchin' till the mornin' comes creepin.' Green door, what's that secret you're keepin'? Monday morning. “Ring Ring Ring. Hello. Oh. Wednesday? Afternoon? I guess if that’s the best you can do.” A delay because another job was taking longer than anticipated. The hubby understands all the pitfalls of landscaping. He would be the last person to speak disparaging words to someone who was trying his best to do a job. “Wednesday would be fine,” he told them. The
Curly Mop (one of our 7 grandchildren) turned two years old this week. Her smile and giggle can cure the gloomiest of days. Pour that and the excitement generated by a birthday into a bottle and we could sell it and become millionaires. The party was at a park in Portland, so it was a long drive, both ways :) Our gift, a doll house, was purchased during a spring close out sale at Toys R Us , then hidden in a closet until the big day. It took both grandpa's and a tool box to put it together - - - - - - - - - - - and a somewhat overwhelmed mommy to find a home for it in a tiny apartment. That done, we chowed down a 6-foot Sub Sandwich and a 7-layer birthday cake. The layers were separated by heavenly fruit compotes of marionberry, rasberry and strawberry. It was sinful. Curly mop got her very own two-year old size cake that was topped with Bert. You can see which got her attention. Sesame Street rules in her toy box. She owns at least two copies of every muppet that ever appeared