Memorial Day Visits

With an open mind and heart, welcome them back for a visit . . .

Yes, the ‘official’ day of remembering our loved ones who have left God’s Human Room, and are now in another of His Rooms which offer us exactly what it is we need to learn.   Perhaps were offered here, too but we were too busy to take advantage of what was available and now, as we’ve stepped into another of God’s Rooms we will be offered again, exactly what we need for our eternal growth.

But, it’s an odd and rare person who waits from one year to another to remember those who have left us.   Most people do as I do, and so  there isn’t a day that passes, but that I don’t feel and ‘visit’ with Gram . . . Brad . . .Dad and Mom……my siblings, Spencer, Amber, Fern, and so many others.

And I think that. . . even as I look forward to being with them again . . . that they too are looking forward for our arrival in whatever Room they are now in. Looking forward to a day when they will joyously greet us.

Yes, I think The Source has many Rooms. Each special, each different, each like a gift awaiting our arrival.     But I don’t wait for that, but visit with my loved ones right here, and quite often, too.   Why wait? I feel them here, just as I did during the years when they were in their bodies. Yes, they’ve left but they visit.   Oh, yes, they do, and not daily but just the same, they visit. 

I often feel Gram with me in my kitchen, as I prepare my meals, for cooking was  her Number One hobby. Then it was her kitchen we shared, and now it’s mine.   Or her flowers, and I’ve never yet seen a display of Chrysanthemums as gorgeous as  when the plants she cultivated up and down her driveway, are in full bloom. It is a prize winning display, and all her doing.

Or, there’s a certain chair I oft time lounge upon and I am aware of the worn place where Brad’s hands rested, and over time rubbed the ‘finish’ off, and now my hands add to the worn places.   Yeah, it’s still Brad’s home.   Still Brad’s chair.   And welcome here, too .

And my memories and ‘visiting’ aren’t just in my home.   There’s a certain Cafe in South Salt Lake that I now never patronize . . . for, dang it, it’s not so comfortable and the food not so tasty when I’m not with John Nuslein.   But yet, ‘Jonathon’ and I visit for now  he comes to my backyard where we watch the wild life ‘over the hill’, and love the old pasture, which is now a golf course.

LaRee Pehrson, whose written words brought life and interest to the well-read Magna Green Sheet and whose presence I so enjoyed  as we traveled together, and we made good use of the phone when our night time conversations lasted often to midnight. And LaRee being LaRee I’m sure has found lots of stuff in God’s Next Room and set it all aside to share with me,

And then there’s been Dad, a true Swede, at my kitchen table with a full Coffee Pot and cake, cookies, pie or other leftovers from my ‘frig’ and freezer, plus two small boys at our feet, and happy times when Gram came over and joined us. Both boys recall Dad’s shoes, for they were the first they had seen that were actually shoes and not oxfords. And today’s kids would have to be shown the difference

home . . . and remnants of his Ham Shack are still here. Why not? They were his trade mark, and the da di da dit, da da di da, when one listens closely still echo in my rooms and now aided and abetted by the same dots and dashes of his youngest son. And now K7EA and W6ITW and W7JYI form a friendly   chorus of dots and dashes to verify that a Short Wave Ham once made this his home..

Jake is here and so welcome.

And Brad is here.   It’s his , with his cheerie “Hi, OLE’.   Jake’s nickname from my maiden name of Ohlin.   And I answer Hi, Hi, Hi. He was a brother in law and a good one, too. Yeah, he still visits here.

Mom isn’t here very often, because, I figured it was my and Brad’s home, and so the coffee and tea pots were well used, and the aroma of tobacco was welcome here atthat time, But her beliefs, God bless her, were so strong she could not come to a place that did not follow those edicts.   Life can be cruel, hard, demanding and hurtful, but The Next Room will welcome all. The Source understands and loves us.

Who else?????   My door is always open: Bill and Ruth Bailey of long years ago. Ann and Jack Larkin, both here and also at 206, 208, East on 4800 South and I’m sure the Source’s Next rooms are large and welcoming, for there are many I will look for and will need a large space.

Yes Memorial Day comes once a year, and the cemeteries are crowded with the many who go to stand by the site where the loved bodies were buried. Good, good, good, but better still is quietly welcoming those dear ones to our homes that they probably knew as well as we did.   With an open mind and heart, welcome them back for a visit. You’ll be glad you did.

Learn To Love Yourself First

     We use the word ‘love’ many times a day, and in so many different ways that it becomes baffling.   Lots of people consider the two words of Sex and Love, to be synonymous, but they are far from being so.

First of all, we should realize that the word Love is not primarily a Noun, but a Verb .  And a verb is a word of action, and action, once put into motion, continues in motion. It’s a natural Law. Recognized as such, the more Love we use and send along to others, the more love comes back to continue being used.

 

     The supply is endless, and the wise ones tell us that first, we must learn to love ourselves. To make it our own inner joy, and then silently send it along to others making us more joyous. Some of the easy rules follow.

  

Love yourself and therefore:

     Take loving care of your body, feeding it nourishing foods and beverages. Groom and dress it with love, and watch your body respond by giving you health and energy.

 

Love yourself and therefore:

     Your home will comfortably fill your every need and be a joy to live within. The rooms will be filled with love’s vibration so that all who enter, yourself included, will feel and be nourished by it.

 

Love yourself and therefore:

     You will enjoy your work for, no matter what it is, it will use your creative talents and abilities, and allow you to know and communicate lovingly with those who become part of your life.

 

Love yourself and therefore;

       Your every need is met and often will come into your life before you are aware such a need was approaching. The Source is all-knowing and, if you but allow, the way is prepared before you.

The Bible says: “He goeth before, and prepareth the way”.   .

 

Love yourself and therefore:

     Think in a loving way toward all people, for we know that whatever we give, (love or its opposite), returns to us multiplied over and over, filling our world, and mirroring exactly what we sent out.

 

Love yourself and therefore:

     Forgive and totally release all past experiences which, at the time, you worried about, resented, yet clung to. Only with utter, loving, forgiveness, can you be free.

Love yourself and therefore:

     Live in the Now. Experience each moment as good, and know that your future is joyous and secure. Everyone is a child of the Source and that Source lovingly cares for us, now and forever, the same way you, as loving parents, care for your children.

 

Love yourself and therefore:

     You will discover you can love all others. Including the many in this world whose deeds you cannot love, because The Source teaches us to love the do-er, not the deed.

     True Agape love is the only way to end the violent and dangerous actions that we see or read about in the media news each day. Love is the only answer to wars, street crimes, home disagreements, violence, greedy political debates, and arguments of all kinds.

 

Love yourself and therefore;

     Silently send love to all people, no matter what creed or color, and if right next door or the other side of the world. Silent love is the only action that will someday change the world, but the action must begin, and continue to live, within each of us.

 

     Learn to respect, accept and love your own worth. Then, no matter where you are or who you are with, don’t wait or say a word, but silently start sending love. Right then. You are the only one, from the special spot where you abide, who can set in motion Love’s eternal action.

 

  

I found these words several years ago in some book or magazine. Liked them, saved them, altered or added here or there, and now pass them along to you. And I choose, when I read the name the author has called The Source, to murmur the name of God because He is the ultimate Source of All.                  (Anon.)

  

 

Mothers

My Mom sure is wise . . .   Things she taught me.

Do any of these sound familiar? My mother didn’t have a lot of ‘schooling” but these are facts I learned from her as a child. Betcha you heard them too.

My Mother taught me early TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.

“If you two are going to fight till you kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning that room.”

 My Mother taught me all about the depth of PRAYER.

       “You better start praying right now that the stuff you spilled will come out of the carpet.”

 My Mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.

“If you don’t straighten up right now, I’m going to come over there and knock you into the middle of next week.”

 My Mother taught me LOGIC.

“Because I said so. That’s why.”

My Mother taught me about FORESIGHT.

     “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

My Mother taught me IRONY.

“Just keep crying, and I’ll give you something to really cry about,”

 My Mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.

“Shut your mouth and eat you supper.”

 My Mother taught me LOGIC.

“If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”

 My Mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.

     “Will you just look at the dirt you have on the back of your neck and in your ears.”

My Mother taught me about STAMINA.

You’re going to sit there till all that spinach is eaten.”

 My Mother taught me about WEATHER.

         “If looks as if a cyclone swept through your room.”

 My Mother taught me how to solve PHYSICS PROBLEMS.

“If I yelled because I saw a meteor coming straight toward you, would you listen to me THEN?

 My Mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.

“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times. Don’t exaggerate.”

Betcha they sound familiar to you, too. And no matter where you live. For some reason they’re familiar to all of us. Almost word for word.

 

Who Shall I Be Today?

And who are you?  Today.

Sometimes I’m asked, “Who are you?” and I’m tempted to reply that I’m lots of Ethels, and which one do you mean?

The name Ethel Bradford, only means I belong to a family of Bradfords and ‘labeled’, so people can tell me apart from others. And that Ethel has been daughter, wife, lover. mother, grandmother,  and twice a great-grandmother.

But you know, as I do, that all those ‘names’ are actually only labels, tags you might say, explaining what role I played or play in some one else’s life.

None of them relates to the Ethel who responds, or hangs up, on those who try to beguile or fill me with fear in order to get me to vote for the one who is paying them to make the calls.

And still different from that Ethel who tries to explain to another phone-voice, that I never buy or give money to those who ask by phone. And you wouldn’t want to know that Ethel who was once told, (in today’s explicit words) to perform some anatomically impossible act. Yes, I knew the words. but was shocked to hear them  aimed at me. I was tempted to respond in the same lingo.  I didn’t. but that too, is another Ethel.

To some I’m a Teacher, and there I smile, for I always learn more than I teach, because the teacher must ‘dig’ for more information than ever used, while all the students have to do is listen, doze, or not even attend.

I’m a different Ethel when met with anger or resentment, than with arms of love. Yes, and there are Ethels that I don’t especially like, but, at times we all play such roles, too.

I remember back when I was my Dad’s Flicka, his little Svenska girl, and though I didn’t know what those words meant, I knew it was an Ethel I liked being.

I’m not sure who I was to my mother, for she could not accept the Ethel who could not unquestionably follow her steps. I was a different Ethel than what she wanted, expected, and sadness came to us both. It caused me to try to give my sons deep character training, but also the freedom to use those values in whatever System they chose. And that my love for them would not vary an iota.

And sometime who we are is a puzzle. as with me to the one I’ve called Gram. She was my husband’s mother, so I was not her daughter, and yet she said I was her true daughter. It’s an Ethel I loved being, and am glad I was given that role to fill.

And then there’s the Ethel who is a student, for that Ethel keeps me forever stepping through doors that, with just a touch, prove not to be doors at all, but new territory to explore and widen my mind. This has become my favorite Ethel, for she points the way to the Ethel I am becoming as I eagerly step through those false doors with open eyes and mind.

To my surprise, and I wish I could tell every older person, but as I get older, I’m finding an entirely new Ethel. I eagerly reach to her with surprise and ask, where have you been all this time? And I’ve found that I had to wait until years of living, and stepping through those wide-open ‘closed doors’, would be needed to give me the bravery, joy, and wisdom to dare be the Ethel I never before was ready to be.

And the best part of it all, is to find that I, by the roles I play today, am also choosing who and what I will be tomorrow. And to know that this is not a ‘new’ Ethel, but one who’s always been with me, waiting to be discovered.

I’ve caught glimpses of that Ethel peeking out from behind the thousands of roles I’ve taken, but slowly found that no matter what name or camouflage I assume, IT is the real, never changing ‘me’. And, shiver, shiver, shiver, like you, It’s who I Am, always was and always will be. Yes, the names given me will vary but the real, final Role will always be the Ethel who is One with The Source of all. And some day, I hope we’ll meet each other there.

 

Nothing New Under The Sun

And there was Sappho,  who lived on the Isle of Lesbo

Today, we’re daily bombarded with articles about same-sex marriage and other ‘different’ relationships.  So many, in fact, and coming from all directions, we might think homosexuality to be a fairly new phenomenon and probably the result of our free way of life with drugs, alcohol and such.  But how wrong such thinking is.

The Bible has many tales and references of male-male and female-female love, and the most famous one, perhaps, is that of the love between David and Jonathan, and in 2nd Samuel, 1:26, at Jonathan’s funeral, David publicly declares that he and Jonathan loved in a manner greater than from women.

There are many other Biblical notations on this facet of life, with Ruth and Naomi also well known, but more close to home, I tell of my own experiences with those of that large group.

The day Armstrong walked upon the moon, there was a young 9 or 10 year old lad in my home watching the TV with me, and I surmised (and later knew I was right) that he was Gay.  Years later, and then an adult, he sadly told me that as a child, he knew he was different, but couldn’t figure out what made him different, for he was sensitive enough to know he didn’t fit in with his brothers and their pals, or with his sister and her group.

He said, “Ethel, I cried so often at night because I was so alone, so isolated, that it was a tremendous relief, and to tell the truth, and also a welcome surprise to find that there were others exactly like me.  That I was not alone.”

Gay and Lesbian people are all around us, if we just have the openness to see and accept.

Later on in my own life, there was a young man who had a Hair Salon and as he worked to make my hair all one color, he said, “I knew I was different, long before I knew what made me different.”  Which echoed almost the same words I had heard years before from that child in my kitchen.

“My parents”, he continued, “were of no help at all when I cried and asked them “why?” but later,  when as an adult, I faced and questioned them, they both admitted they knew of my struggle. I suppose they hoped it would all go away.  How foolish they were, just like hoping the color of my eyes would change.

“It would have been a ‘life saver’ to me, and such a help if someone, anyone, would have told me what my ‘difference’ was, while I was still a youngster.  It would have saved me from many neurosis and deep personality problems to be coped with after they were so deeply and well ingrained with me.  How wonderful if help and understanding could be carefully given at the very beginning.

“See”, he reiterated, “we do not become homosexual, but are born as such, exactly the same as any child who is born with any other ‘difference’.  We need help in order to know and cope with the difference and the sooner the better for all concerned.

“It was such an eye opener, surprise and consolation, to find I was not the only one, but was bitter for many a year, and although my parents loved me, there was no true understanding.  I forgive, but it’s such a common, almost routine relationship with parents and child, whether gay or lesbian, that most of us leave and escape from our childhood environment as soon as possible, to search and find understanding and solace with others who are also considered ‘different’. It was there that I received my first true education as to what kind of person I was and am.  Far too late for me to smoothly find a way to adapt and have a fulfilling life.”

But going back even further than the Bible was Sappho, an ancient poet who lived on the Isle of Lesbo, and wrote of love with both sexes and Lesbo, of course, became the root of the word Lesbian.

I also know of a two wonderful men who became very well known in both the academic and artistic life of western America.  They have most quietly been partners for decades and their fellow academics could not help but know, but  chose to silently ignore any ‘difference’ and center only upon their great intelligence and achievements.  The work and artistry created by this pair has been consistently quoted, referred to and exhibited in many ways and places.

It’s wonderful proof that our world is not all of judging and crippling people.  There is much love and acceptance around us, once we dare ‘take off our blinders’ and bravely, and with open minds, look over the walls.

Anyone who is seriously interested in the Biblical history of this phase of sexuality can turn to Google where the many references could take you days to explore, and many go far back before Biblical records. I make no claim on being an expert on this subject, except what has come into my life, but, I am on ‘first name’ basis with Google, and use it, just as most of us also do.

A Machine Named Ethel

I am in it, but not of it . . .

I’ve written often of who I’ve been, but now find it most important to find out who I’m in the Process of Becoming. and find that everyone, aware of it or not, is doing the same. I take this seriously and think back on Shakespeare’s so oft-quoted words: “To thine own self be true,” and wonder, just who and what is my True Self.

To begin with, we became what our parents and early teachers made of us. What else? But by the time we’re in our teen years, many of us find we don’t fit into their pattern but try to conform, guiltily thinking that to be different must be wrong.

The Process to find our own True Self is difficult for young people, but in some manner, (with me it was books), many of us find that we are not wrong, only ‘different’. And that’s alright. for if we’re uncomfortable with who we are, we, and no one else, has the power to change  or help us change to fulfill our inner dreams.

We have initially been formed into what others wanted us to be, but for a successful, happy maturity, we must ultimately learn to respect, accept and finally love our difference.  And to  find out who and what we do want to be..

I tell my journey. I was born one of five siblings, and different from all. I was pure Svenska, with white, straight hair, and surrounded by a dark curly- haired family. Mama must have felt God had made a mistake, but I would have fit smoothly into my paternal Swedish lineage, and thankfully, finally became mature enough to know I was not wrong, just had been born with my own Scandinavian genes.

Little by little, I learned I was not unique, and that there were many with my same physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual propensities. Needless to say, it was a deep relief to find I was not some odd, unique being and far from being the only one.

It was a blessing to me that from childhood I was a reader, and my father never once complained of the many trips to and from the Murray Library  that  I carelessly asked of him. It was an eye-opener to me, and shook me to my core, to find books explaining the thoughts and lives of thinking people from the different countries of the world.

There, but a mile from home, was where I found that I was not wrong, only different, and more important, held the power and shown the way to become the person I wanted to be.

Aware or not, we’re all Beings In Process, and I wish Teachers could let young students know that every second of the day, everyone is in the Process of Becoming a different person. And, of prime importance, it is everyone’s choice as to the kind of person they are becoming.

There is not a one of us who wouldn’t like to go back and live our lives over again, but with the wisdom we have gained along the way.  Not to be, I know, but when we reach the last decades of our lives, we don’t wish to be another  Einstein, but to have allowed our True Selves to meet and work with those who entered and continue to enter our lives.

So I ask myself. ‘Ethel, who are you now becoming?’  For none of us are through with the Process, which will continue until we enter The Next Room, where the machine, no longer needed, is discarded and Spirit, that ever-present inner Source, reveals Itself.

I think I’ve caught a glimpse of the Goal, and shiver as I know that if I allow and grow, we all will, in some Higher Next Room, become One With The Source of All. You know that, too?   And that we’ll someday meet each other There?   What a blessed Process.

Addendum

 A few years ago I penned a small booklet I titled A Machine Called Ethel, and though I’d make changes in it to-day, the concept stays firm. I walk, talk and live in a ‘Machine’ called Ethel, but I Am not that machine. I use it, take care of it, could not continue in a physical body without it, but I am not it and it is not Me.   I think you’d like the book.

It’s under the Ethel’s Books tab if you would like a copy of ‘A Machine Called Ethel’.  ethelbrad@comcast.net

Time To Think About Sex Again

Spring has officially sprung, (despite being under yesterday’s melting snow) so here is one of Ethel’s advice columns on how to make your garden grow . . .

I’ve written about Artificial Insemination before and have yet to be sued for malpractice or even threatened with a law suit. And so, here goes again. And my method is absolutely infallible. Time tested.

Of course, the fact that it happens to be Tomato Plants I tell about might be the reason for such indifference, but just the same, if you plant a few tomato plants in your back yard, and grow beautiful vines, but no tomatoes  develop, try my method. It works like a dream.

I blundered upon this solution one year when I bought 4 or 5 tomato plants which had small tomatoes already formed. They grew into beautiful red globes, but, though the bushes continued to blossom, there were no more tomatoes.

Yes, they were getting enough sun.  Yes, I watered them and yes, I cultivated and even fertilized the soil, but still no fruit.

What I had forgotten, oh foolish me, was that it ‘takes two to tango’, and for two of the same species to create another of their ilk, the rules must be followed.

Yeah, I knew about the birds and bees, the boys and girls, and even the fish in the sea. But tomatoes? Frankly, I hadn’t given  them a thought, and had to be reminded by one wiser than I, that if you have only one or two plants, spaced too far apart, they just can’t do what they’re supposed to be doing, and will remain sterile.

Just like a couple going on their honeymoon, but each going to a different Hotel.

So, with fewer than a dozen words, that maven, my wise-one, gave me the secret to backyard failures and backyard triumphs.  And now I am an agricultural specialist and pass the information along to you. Pay heed and you too, will become an expert.

Each day the gardener must stroll from one tomato plant to another with  a Q-tip in hand, and gently, gently. touch each blossom with the cotton tip and then go to the next blossom and do the same, with the same Q-tip. and repeat the soft touch. Spreading the good stuff around, don’t you see? Oh, and be sure to keep that same Q-tip to use every day, gently, and again and again and again.

It works and this spring your tomato blossoms won’t dry up and fall uselessly to the ground, but soon there will be a tiny tomato sitting there, needing only time to develop into one you will take to your table. Or eat right there and then.

I always thought such impregnation techniques had to be performed by highly trained people, wearing white sterile clothing, etc. etc. But this spring, knowing nothing about reproduction (well, hardly nothing) you will be doing that marvelous job as well as a pro.

My   mother and dad could have used the wisdom of my teacher, as I did. They had a beautiful cherry tree and each year that tree bloomed profusely, but nary even one cherry developed.   Years later I read that certain trees, cherries included, have both male and female trees, and at least one of each must be planted close to each other before pollination can occur.

At one time, in what was then a vacant yard, and now Bill and Nina’s home, I had a Pie Cherry tree side by side with a Bing Tree. And had more fruit than I could ever have eaten and gave most of it away. And there, with a male and female tree, it worked.

Every farmer knows that a few long rows of corn won’t produce, but the very same number of stalks, bunched cozily together, will produce ears and ears of corn. The wind, which is the pollinator for corn, whips the precious ‘stuff’ into the air, but if the stalks aren’t right handy, the vital ingredient drops uselessly to the ground.

Even for tomatoes, you gotta have togetherness for the ‘birds and bees’ thing to work naturally.   And so, this summer, if people see you . . . with Q-tip in hand . . . going from tomato plant to another tomato plant, they will know you’re doing your job of matchmaker.

No, you won’t be in a doctor’s white coat, or in a sterile laboratory, or have expensive equipment in hand, but this method works, and you will have tomatoes by the dozen. Sometimes I amaze myself at the folk-lore that someone learns, passes along, and we all eat better because of it.

Spring Time

Spring means different things to different people. Yes, it’s the interlude between winter and summer, but the memories it uncovers are wide and varied.

To me, it’s when the dreary winter-dull grass down on the Golf Course turns to bright green, and people, not just the walkers, begin to people its pathways.

My friend jumped at my question with, “Oh, Ethel, yellow baby chicks.  They mean it’s Spring and warm weather will be here in two blinks of our eyes.”  She told me that the fertile chicken eggs were kept in the house and carefully cosseted in warm shallow shelters, where watchful eyes could keep track of seeing the chick, from inside of the shell,  would keep pecking at the shell until it broke and they found their way out.  A miracle to the child my friend then was and still a miracle to anyone watching such wonders.

I hadn’t thought of animals as Spring,  but, of course, young animals mean Spring to most who grew up in rural areas, and so it was no surprise when Bob recalled running in their pasture and playing with baby lambs. He says the mother Ewe would watch, but wasn’t disturbed, for the newborn ones have to exercise. His Dad, didn’t let him run them too long or too hard, but says it was good for the lambs and for him. And to remember, too.

For Wayne, who grew up in Lethbridge, Canada, Spring meant the Chinooks. “Oh, Ethel, the Chinooks came and the bitter cold was over.  I recall one day when it was 25 degrees below zero, and I was bundled  from head to toe to get to school, but later that morning a Chinook came swooping down and when I went home that afternoon, I carried all those clothes in my arms, not on me.  Spring brought the Chinooks, and the Chinooks meant the end of bitter cold and warmth for us all.”

Bernice had nothing to do with green grass, baby chicks, or baby lambs, but, she remembered how our Mother, (she is my sister) would insist that we wear LONG cotton stockings all winter long, and how, when Spring came, on her way to school, and well out of Mom’s sight, she would unhook and roll those stocking down as far as possible so that all day long she walked around school with huge ‘do-nuts’ of rolled stocking around her ankles.  ‘Do-nuts’ that were carefully rolled back up and hooked (remember Panty Waists?) before Mom saw her.  Yeah, parental rebellion was Spring, too.

Nina saw herself  ‘helping’ her father Till the garden soil, as she walked behind him, barefoot, and enjoying the warmth of the just-Tilled soil against her bare feet and wiggling her toes within its warmth.  She had seen her Father put the dry fallen leaves on the garden spot before winter arrived, and now she saw those leaves as compost and being mixed with the good earth. Nina saw the ‘complete circle’ and you can’t get any better than that.

I will not forget one day when I saw that someone had scattered small pieces of bright orange paper over my back lawn, and as I tsk-tsk-ed over the ‘mess’, I  went out to clean up the trash.  But there was no trash, just the beauty of Crocuses (I know the plural is Croci, but I like the other) that Gram and I had planted, and now  had multiplied and spread over a large space.  They are gone now, for I belatedly found that Weed killer for dandelions is a killer of crocuses, too.  And I unwittingly did it.

My sons remember roaming the pasture (before it was for golf) and prowling  for frogs, toads, bumble bees, and turning over rocks to see the worms and bugs sheltered there while waiting for the warm sun to lure them out.  Everything came alive down there where, to the casual eye, there was naught but cows and horses.  Only kids would have the time and curiosity  see how much life really returned each Spring.

Deanna remembers how her whole family, aunts, uncles and cousins, would go out to the West Desert for a great big picnic, and she didn’t really know why, but only how great it was.

I think I know why.  One of her Uncles, Dominic and his kids, were Rock Hounds and that west desert was a bonanza for such hunting.  The Rocks were later polished and he made lovely pieces of art from them.  I have a beautiful Rock Clock, that he made from rocks, that maybe he found on a  ‘picnic’ day.  But it’s autographed by his daughter Joyce, and  hangs on my wall where visitors see and admire it. Rocks too, speak of  Spring.

Chicks, lambs, Rock Hunting, Crocuses, bare feet in newly tilled garden soil, long stocking rolled down to ankles, looking under rocks for bugs about to come forth, the Chinook winds,  lavender Hyacinths in full bloom with their heady aroma, all speak of Spring.  And maybe what reminds you of Spring is world’s apart from any of the above, but while you’re enjoying this 2017 Spring, take a moment to remember and enjoy again,  your childhood years.  They’re priceless.

It’s Not Just For Nails

Swiss Army Knife in a bottle . . .

A bottle of Nail Polish should be in every household ‘fix-it’ kit, and not for finger or toe nail decoration, either, and for a complete kit, make certain there is one of Clear polish and another of the Glow-In-The -Dark bottle. Dozens of uses

I use the Clear to protect a fingernail that has a surface roughness that nothing but growing out will eliminate. And it’s the answer, if you happen to have one of those fingernails that ‘ layers’, and not only looks bad, but are always catching on clothes, and forever forming another loose layer.   Keep it covered well with dull, colorless nail polish and let the nail grow out. Might take a month or two, but it’s worth the trouble.   And anyway, what other choice do we have?????

My husband was one handy man around the house and before he ever knew of colorless polish, he still kept a bottle of polish, on his shop bench, and any color I happened to have would do.   He didn’t care.

But when he was installing a screw into something, he would coat that screw liberally with the nail polish and then immediately tighten it into place and the screw would really be tight. And making double sure, he’d also paint the head of the screw .

When he became aware of colorless stuff, he would cover the heads of nails and screws on most everything he saw, for it keeps rust, dust and other kinds of stains away.

I once had a pair of metal ‘Salt-and-Pepper Shakers’ at my stove, but they often were left damp when I used them and in a day or two I’d find stains where they stood. But with one quick clean up and then with a coat of colorless nail polish on the bottom of the shakers, any staining was a thing of the past, and no one knew my trick.

If you have a measuring buckets or whatever for liquids used in your outside summer water buckets, mark inside of the bucket, the correct lines so you know when you’ve filled it to a pint, quart, or of whatever measure you need. It works, it lasts, and the time spent figuring where the lines should be, saves you hours of time all summer long.

The Clear polish will fill and hide the dents on the top of wooden furniture, and if you coat the brass handles and knobs around the house with the clear polish, they will never tarnish. Mix a bit of vinyl dust with the clear polish to repair any scratches on y our vinyl flooring. Nice.

My husband would have grabbed onto today’s Glow-In-The-Dark polish,  for it now spells the end of fumbling through the bed covers in the middle of the night, to find the Remote to turn Off the tv or music when sleep came and left the programs going on loud and forever.. I’ve also found that a few daubs on the edges, as well as painting the On and Off buttons are godsends. Betcha more bottles are sold for such purposes than for finger or toe nails.

Touch on the ends of a rope, string, or cord to keep them from raveling , as well the polih is great in mending small cuts or tears in window screens. No fooling, and the Glow polish is a wonder in helping you find the key hole in your car when it’s pitch dark outside, too
When the knobs on your dresser or cabinets become loose, dip the screws into clear polish before tightening them and the tightening will be good for a long time.

Never tried it myself, but was told to use acetone polish remover to repair burns on wooden furniture. Now, I think they were referring to hot ashes accidentally dropped from a burning cigarette, but of course, no one smokes any more, and so cancel that one.

All together, I think we’ve found more uses for Clear and for Glow in the Dark nail polish then the makers imagined. Or maybe they did and left it to us to find out. And we have, and we keep on doing so, too.

Hobbies Aren’t Just For Fun

They can be life-savers . . .

Took me a long time to finally understand and respect many of the words Gram would often so casually say to me.

But many of her thoughts have stayed with me, and oh how I wish she could know how her words, such as these I use today, have helped me.

“Ethel’ she said, “for a woman (and also for men) to be happy, they must find something, in addition to her home and family, that will bring joy into her life. And the more hobbies she (or they) have, the better off they’ll be.”

I listened, but really didn’t ‘hear’ her, for after all, I was still in that euphoric stage after marriage when you took for granted you’d live happily ever after. Impossible to think she could really mean that I might someday need anything more than my husband, her son, to   bring happiness to my life.

But I also knew Gram didn’t waste words, and so I filed her thoughts away into the ‘hard drive’ compartment of my mental computer (although such things had not even been dreamed of then) and when the day did come, and I found that ‘ family’ wasn’t enough, her words re-surfaced and I began to follow her advise. See, she had ‘been there and done that’ and was doing her best to pass the wisdom on to one she loved. Me.

Gram was not alone, for others have said the same thing. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, is the old peasant way of telling us the very same thing. And Pearl Buck, that wise, wise author of so many best-seller books, wrote that if a woman tries to confine all her energies, attention and love into the sole outlet of husband and family, she will put a burden upon that relationship that it was never meant to carry. And I remembered.

The husband or wife will retreat (escape) in true self-defense, to their own hobbies, to TV, reading, a garden, golf, or the neighborhood bar. Your children will stay in their rooms, ‘live’ at a friend’s home, retreat into silence or rebel in any of the thousands of ways a teen can find or devise.

And when I first attended some meeting or demonstration that held no interest whatever for my husband, I felt guilty, but went ahead with a friend , and was startled to find that he liked  those times when his presence or participation wasn’t needed, as well as I did.  And slowly I saw that he had his own interests that I didn’t care one whit about. And it was all to the good.

What Gram had learned, as we all must, if we are to gain any measure of happiness, is that not one of us can (or wants) to spend 24 hours a day with just one person. No matter how loved that one might be.

Gram knew that kids grow up and leave home.   Death does come, and that jobs, life and sickness, both mental and physical, can separate people, even loved ones, and so for our own balance we must find outlets that absorb and bring delight to us. In addition to our families.

Women’s lives were woefully limited at Gram’s time, but I think that “Cooking”, and experimenting with different recipes was her first (or second) joy, and it utterly shattered her when Jake, one of her sons, ‘fell in love with cooking’ and so casually became ‘head’ of that domain. She simply could not believe it and I felt for her, but was helpless to change it back to ‘where it all had been’.  Straight to her.

Gardening was her second, (or first) hobby, and I never greet Spring without recalling her delight in ‘getting outside’ to dig and plant. And Gram is my companion as, each year, I spend my first days in my own garden.

I have hobbies, and if you haven’t found yours, get busy and scout around. My friend Beverly Wheeler Mastrim amazes me, for now in her 80’s, she is taking piano lessons. Her lifelong dedication to oil painting had been crippled when failing eye sight increased, and she recalled the joy her husband Ray Mastrim took from the piano and organ, and just like that, she is now doing the same thing. And urging me to do the same. And I’m thinking.

And one of Gram’s most succinct phrases of all, and as true today as when    she passed it along to me, “Ethel, remember, we marry for life, but not for twenty-four hours a day.”      In other words, that wise, wise woman, was telling us to get some hobbies, and I hope you read and remember.  Just might save your own  sanity one of these days.