Happy 90th birthday, Mom!

Happy 90th birthday, Mom!
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A week or so ago, we held a special event in our family. A celebration of the 90th birthday of our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, cousin, aunt, and friend. The past year was a bit of a health crisis year, but things have leveled out, Mom is healthy and still living in her own house and driving, and we wanted to celebrate this milestone.

We’ve done these gatherings before, and I am continually awed at how well this family works together. First, there were several planning sessions. Wine and/or beer may or may not have been involved, but a lot of work got done, too. Menus planned, venue settled, invite list grown.

One brother and sister-in-law provided the venue…their back yard, God bless them! And if you’ve ever hosted a party, you know what it takes to get that yard to shine extra special. The other brother and sister-in-law provided amazing food, table and chair reconnaissance and delivery, and a special talent for ambiance and decorating I truly admire. Two long distance sisters provided food and lots of moral support. And various cousins and grandchildren also brought food.
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When the day arrived, we all congregated…63 adults and children, to honor Mom. It was an afternoon of awesome conversations, reminiscences, and checking in on current lives. And all because of our mother.

She is kind.
She taught me the “family first” rule.
And that being myself was the perfect way to be.
That working together is easier than butting heads.
And that helping people is the best feeling in the whole wide world.

And that’s why my brothers and sisters and I work so well together. And our husbands and wives join in with the same dedication. Because Mom loves us all unconditionally.

I know this is getting pretty sappy, but I can’t stop bragging about the wonderful family I am part of. And the wonderful world we’ve created. A world that keeps expanding with each grandchild and great-grandchild.

By the way, here’s the specs for Mom’s family:

5 children
9 grandchildren
17 great-grandchildren

And a legacy that will live on for years to come. Next stop…100!
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Where Were You? Summer, 1969

Jillian here.  This weekend marked the 45th anniversary of the “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” trip to the moon. Do you remember where you were when it happened? It’s one of those pivotal moments in history where people seem to recall exactly where they were when it occurred.

My dad and I got into a discussion about this yesterday. He said he’d been searching his memory banks because he couldn’t recall where he was on that date and it was driving him crazy. I saved the man from losing his mind because I remembered. I was eight years old but I remember exactly where we were. As soon as I started telling him, he recalled, too.

We lived right outside Washington, D.C at the time but we were visiting my grandparents in northern Alabama. We were at their house on the Tennessee River which we always called the lake house. We watched it on television and then went outside, sat in lawn chairs and peered up at the sky talking about the men up there and whether or not, when the moon eventually became full, if we’d be able to see the USA flag up there. It was a fun, fanciful evening as we even joked about the man in the moon hanging out with them and offering them green cheese to eat. How in the heck my dad forgot all that, I’ll never know.  LOL

So, do you remember where you were? I’d love to hear.  And we won’t even get in to the conversation about whether it was all a hoax. I prefer to believe it really happened.

Porch-Sittin’ Weather by Valerie J. Patterson

The county courthouse I work in is practically older than dirt.  It has a large front porch–for lack of a better term.  It has massive, aged columns and a huge bell tower upon which stands a statue of the man the county is named after–Revolutionary War Major General Nathanael Greene.  The original courtroom is big with high archways and walls lined with portraits of the judges who’ve administered justice through the courthouse’s existence.  It’s a pretty impressive courthouse.  But it’s the front porch I want to talk about.

Greene County Courthouse

The courthouse is at the heart of town.  Anyone going anywhere has to pass the front of the courthouse in order to get where they’re going.  There are park benches on the front porch inviting folks to sit a while.  This is where I’ve come to spend my lunch breaks the past two months or so.

It’s not always easy to get out of the office and go to a restaurant for lunch, but it does occur.  Usually, when that happens, my hubby picks me up and whisks me away for an hour of quiet conversation and a sandwich or a salad.  I love those hours.  I covet those hours because it’s a small bit of time we get together in an otherwise busy day.

If I can’t get away, I head for the front porch.  I take a bottle of water, some protein biscuits, a pen and a tablet.  I head for the park bench farthest from the main doors and–after stealing a glance at the clock on the bank across the street–I settle in and start working on my manuscript.  I usually get half a bottle of water and two biscuits down before my mind pulls away from my work and my eyes begin to take in the sights and sounds.

One afternoon I watched a man stopped at a traffic light watch a woman cross the street.  So intent was he on watching her that he turned down a one-way street and the man in the car he cut off yelled loud enough that he stopped and backed out of the one-way street and scurried on his way.

I watched a bride and groom come rushing out the front doors after one of the judges married them and instantly pose for photos,  I’ve seen families pose for photos with the child they just adopted.  And I’ve seen divorcing couples argue all the way down the front steps, stopping on the sidewalk to continue the heated exchange.  Mostly, I watch folks hurry from one end of town to the next and back again.  After all, that hour tends to fly when you fill it with errands.

It seems that no matter the heat of the day, there’s always a lovely breeze coming across the front porch.  I enjoy that breeze.  It relaxes me and refreshes me and energizes me to finish my day.  My Dad was an accomplished porch-sitter.  In the evenings after dinner and whatever chores he had to complete, he’d grab a tall glass of my Mom’s homemade iced tea and head for the front porch.  He’d chat with whomever passed in front of the house, but mostly he sat quietly just soaking up the evening.

There are days when I’m sitting on the park bench and I think of him.  I just know he’d enjoy sitting on that front porch with me.  I hope it remains porch-sittin’ weather for a long while!

Until next time, I hope there’s a porch in your life where you can sit and recharge.  May it always be perfect porch-sittin’ weather for you, too!

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And Now It July!!

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This is the week of our County Fair and actually the first time in over 40 years that I have not stayed on the fair grounds on Monday night. But I am ready to go this morning. Took the trailer … Continue reading

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Summer Time

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I have to admit after living in California, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m still now use to the seasons here in Washington. It’s fun to know that there is a spring, summer, fall and winter.  I’m just … Continue reading

What’s happening, er, happened?

At a loss for a topic today, I went out to the web to find inspiration. That was a mistake, because I got caught up in that “shiny new toy” thing we’ve talked about in the past. Half an hour later, I realize I still don’t have something to chat about. So I plunked in July 9th and came up with a list of historical happenings. So I pulled a few that interested me into this blog.

1872 – Doughnut cutter patents by John Blondel, Thomaston, Me
1877 – 1st Wimbledon tennis championship is held
1893 – Daniel Williams performs 1st successful open heart surgery without anesthesia
1910 – Walter Brookins becomes 1st to pilot an airplane to 1 mile altitude
1922 – Johnny Weissmuller swims 1st 100 m free style under 1 minute
1955 – Bill Haley & Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” tops billboards chart
1956 – Dick Clark’s 1st appearance as host of American Bandstand
1958 – Giant splash caused by fall of 90 million tons of rock & ice into Lituya Bay, Alaska washes 1,800 feet up the mountain
1968 – All star MVP: Willie Mays (SF Giants)
1972 – 1st tour of Paul McCartney & Wings (France)
1978 – “Hello, Dolly!” closes at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC after 152 perfs
1979 – Voyager 2 flies past Jupiter
1980 – Walt Disney’s “Fox & The Hound,” released. (FYI – this is the movie all our grandkids grab to watch when they come over. )
1981 – Jacksons begin a 36-city tour

I grabbed these from a website called Historyorb.com. You can read more events here. In fact, I think I’m going to head back there to see what happened on my birth…ooh, cute kitten video…

Have a GREAT hump day, y’all!

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Coincidences and Connections

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One of my life’s pleasures at this time of year is enjoying a cup of coffee in the garden early in the morning, about 7 am, when the sun rises above the tree line and floods the patio with warmth. … Continue reading