30 Days of Thankfulness – 11/24/22

For the month of November, I’m going to continue with my habit of posting things I am thankful for. Thankfulness is different from happiness, and I don’t want to conflate the two.

Today I’m thankful for the gauchos and chefs at Fogo do Chao who will be feeding Big Al and me our Thanksgiving Dinner today. No cooking for me this year. We’ll be joined by #2 son and #1 grandchild.

30 Days of Thankfulness – 11/22/22

For the month of November, I’m going to continue with my habit of posting things I am thankful for. Thankfulness is different from happiness, and I don’t want to conflate the two.

Today I’m thankful for the train that will take Big Al and me to Portland for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. It’s much nicer than driving. I’m also thankful that the transportation department from FTJ is taking us to the train station (and picking us up on Friday).

30 Days of Thankfulness – 11/20/22

For the month of November, I’m going to continue with my habit of posting things I am thankful for. Thankfulness is different from happiness, and I don’t want to conflate the two.

Today I was reminded of Mama’s funeral (thanks, Facebook) 25 years ago. I’m so thankful that I had my parents as long as I did. They were wonderful people, and I hope we did as well raising our boys as they did raising the four of us.

30 Days of Thankfulness – 11/14/22

For the month of November, I’m going to continue with my habit of posting things I am thankful for. Thankfulness is different from happiness, and I don’t want to conflate the two.

Today I’m thankful for my siblings. It’s always lovely to talk to them on the phone. I’m sorry we don’t live closer, but when we’re together, the years fall away and we enjoy each other. It’s restful to be able to talk without explaining the subtext of everything I say. We are about as different in political thought, religious beliefs, and daily activities as it’s possible to be, but we get along when we’re together. I love them all.

30 Days of Thankfulness – 11/2/22

For the month of November, I’m going to continue with my habit of posting things I am thankful for. Thankfulness is different from happiness, and I don’t want to conflate the two.

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Today is Ray and Kathy’s 9th Anniversary. They’ve survived a lot of troubles in these years, but it seems to have made them stronger.

Happy Anniversary, Ray and Kathy. May you continue to enjoy each other, and live long in your marriage.

Papa

(This is the eulogy I gave at my father’s funeral.  He died in May 2008 at the ripe old age of 96.)

Papa’s obituary was correct and factual and in that way it matched him.  He was an engineer, and he was nothing if not correct and factual.

For those of you who are touchy-feely personalities, you probably thought it was terribly dry, and you don’t really have a feeling for the man whose life I honor today.

But correct and factual actually embodies him better than many of the other things I can say about him.  That’s not to say he was uncaring, or cold – unless you think the rock your life is built on is uncaring or cold.

To me, he was strong, solid, dependable, deep, supporting, and faithful – qualities I’d opt for any time over sweet, sentimental, emotional, sensitive and demonstrative.

I remember in the movie “Love Story”, the main character was estranged from his father, and said “My father never wrote letters to me, he sent Memos”.  When we heard that my sisters and I looked at each other and said, “So???”  Papa used to always send us memos in school.

To:  Abbie

From:  Papa

Re:  Funds

Do you need any?  How are your grades?

Love, Papa

When Ray was just 2 months old, I became gravely ill.  Al and I were still in college – Al was about to graduate – we had NO money – we didn’t know what to do.  So Al put Ray and me on an airplane and shipped us back home.  I ended up in the hospital for three weeks, Mama was working at a new job, so during that time, Papa took vacation from work and stayed home to take care of the new baby.

I don’t know many grandfathers who thought their “baby days” were over, who would have done the same, but there was never any question about it with Papa.  He just did what needed to be done.

Papa loved to fish and, although he was a loyal churchman, we occasionally could convince him to take us fishing on Sunday mornings – particularly if he had caught a line full on Saturday.  In Arkansas during the summer the only time the fish will bite is early in the morning – right during church.

I remember my sister and I convinced him to take us on a float on Little River one Sunday morning from Cerra Gordo, Oklahoma to Little River Country Club.  Someone would drive us up-river where we would put in about dawn, and then we would float back down to the club.  As I said, this was a Sunday morning, and Papa’s conscience must have gotten the better of him, because we did the middle three miles singing “Love Lifted Me”, “Shall We Gather at the River” and all the other good old revival songs at the top of our lungs.  We sang the verses and Papa provided the oompa-pas.

As an engineer, he always loved to stick his head under the hood of any car around.

Mama was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1993.  Papa took over running the house as Mama became less and less able to keep up with things.  But he didn’t do it like a woman would, he did it like an Engineer with schedules, and flow charts, and checklists.  And he never complained.  He didn’t take up cooking, he took up shopping for microwavable dinners.

He let Mama keep doing the wash – because it was one of the things she could still manage, until the day she emptied the trash into the clothes washer and started it running.  Papa was taking a nap in his recliner in front of a baseball game when he heard a terrible rattling and clanging coming from the laundry room.  Empty bottles and cans were agitating in the washer!  But he didn’t fuss.  He just cleaned out the machine, and put a lock on the sliding door.  He continued to care for her at home until the sibs and I finally convinced him that it wasn’t doing either one of them any good.

He was a great tease and kidder.  It is one of the things that never left him, even at the end of his life.  Clara, one of nurses in the health care unit, said a few days before he died, he was semi-conscious, and she had just finished taking his blood pressure.  She leaned over him to straighten the linens on the other side of the bed and suddenly he popped his eyes open and said “Boo!”  Then he just grinned.

While we lived in New Jersey, Mama and Papa became friends with one of the preachers at the church and his wife.  Orville and Margaret Austin remained friends for 30 years, even though they moved away in 1963.  They really enjoyed playing bridge – men against the women – because the women claimed the men didn’t really know what they were doing.

I think about 7 o’clock last Monday evening, Orville and Margaret and Mama were gathered in heaven to meet him with the cards already dealt.  “Sit down.  What took you so long?  We’ve been waiting for you for 10 years.”

He was my foundation, my rock, my underpinning, my support!  He was my father, and, although we had him many years longer than the biblical three-score years and ten, it was still too short a time.  Someone once said, “You are old when there’s nobody left to whom you are a little girl.”  I miss him.

Five things that made me happy today – 2/10/22

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.

Audre Lorde

1. It was mid 40s and misty when I got up. Not much (or any) improvement all day with the temperature topping out at 49 deg. under cloudy skies.

2. Today is our first grandbaby’s 24th birthday (hardly a baby anymore). I remember that day well.

3. HCR is doing a review of American History – starting with the Vikings. Today we looked at European maps that were drawn in the 14th to the 18th centuries. You can tell by the maps they drew, how they anticipated using the area. In this one fro 1507, you can see they had no idea of anything except the coastlines. Fascinating.

4. We had Whoppers for lunch today. Alas, their 2-for-$6 deal left over the weekend. I wish they would have a ChiKing available at lunch, but so far no joy.

5. I MAY actually be getting a new sink to the replace the one that had a big crack in it. It was repaired with something that gets sticky and comes off on the bottom of pots and pans, or if you run hot water in it.

How about you? What made you happy today?