Delta Dawn

Heard this song and I was filled with memories of times long ago…

As I grew older, I was responsible for either helping mom cook dinner or actually cooking it. It was basic and good food back then; beef/chicken or pork we’d raised ourselves. Vegetables either fresh from the garden or from the hundreds of home canning painstakingly done by my mother’s hands. Potatoes grown in our garden pulled up from the cold storage room. Even the milk on the table was milked from the cows by my father. Dessert was home-canned fruit or fresh baked cakes/cookies.

Summer days included helping my mother with the garden. Our hands were dirty pulling weeds, digging carrots, picking peas. Summer evenings we were gathered around in lawn chairs on warm evenings shelling peas or snapping beans. If it was cooler out, we’d be gathered in the basement. All of us, together, talking, laughing, arguing; together.

My mother spent many a sweltering August day in her kitchen canning jar after jar of vegetables, fruit and pickles for her family. Never complaining, but wishing for a “summer kitchen” in the basement. Sometimes we would peel peaches for her or wash raspberries – stealing the “occasional” taste when she wasn’t looking!

There was no eating dinner in front of the TV. The table would be set by a sister or two. My brother would be the runner downstairs to the cold storage to bring up whatever Mom needed for the meal. Dad knew exactly what time to come in – it was the same every day; rare exceptions.

Food was never dished out of the pot – it was put out in bowls properly and passed around. And make sure you go clockwise, kids! So much chatter around that table: 3 girls = 1 brother not getting a word in edge-wise…and a Dad sometimes begging for quiet for 5 minutes! And oh, the laughter and discussion sometimes…

The BEST treat: when mom had been baking buns and we had fresh butter we’d made ourselves and homemade raspberry jam….I’ll take that over a chocolate bar ANY DAY!! Or if she skipped the bun entirely and let us have fried dough gobs with the jam for a special supper treat…oh, truly heaven…

Then three sisters would gather up dishes. I washed and Kathy & Marie dried and put away. So many nights standing at that sink. Sun setting in the west, sometimes too hot in our faces and we’d close the blind. Always left to right in the sink. Back then, annoyed that mom used so many dishes to cook and to serve the food. Not really appreciating it like I do now. How it meant we had such good food on our table. How we three sisters were together spending so much time together.

That time was truly special. Talking about the day, who did what. Dreams, stories, you name it – we talked about it.  Sometimes arguments getting louder and louder until we’d hear a yell from the living room: “I’d better not have to come in there!”

Most of all, the times we would would sing. Yeah, we would sing. As a mother now, I wonder how those songs from the kitchen made my mom feel? She’s never said – but I’ll bet it is one of her fondest memories: her girls singing “in harmony” around the kitchen sink. Simple country songs that we heard on our radio or tape deck every day. Growing up in that house, we’d learned a lot of them by heart. Songs that my parents loved enough that they would spend their hard-earned money on the occasional record or 8-track tape. Songs that their daughters would sing must have brought such joy to their hearts.

Looking back now, I think that’s why we’re pretty close as sisters – we know each other so well and we truly loved each other – enough to not be embarrassed about belting it out in front of each other. Knowing even then that this was indeed a special time…

Our favorite (and mom’s too) that we sang – Delta Dawn – Tanya Tucker:

 

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Where I’m From

An excellent idea, borrowed from Kristen at Motherese – an excerpt into Where I’m From:

I am from fresh peas and raspberries – “borrowed” from my mother’s garden, from Shreddies cereal and Sunday Night Magical World of Disney.

I am from fields and forests, nestled on top of a hill, “square with the world” as Daddy would say. From hours spent on the river in summer and winter snows.

I am from the soft, fresh-mown grass between my toes, the earthy scent of dirt on my hands.

I am from baseball games and swimming lessons. Mr. Roy and Grand Marches. Miss Maynes and French lessons opening my eyes.

I am from cooking too much food “so we are sure of enough” and making sure that everyone is welcome – family or not.

From “make sure you have clean underwear in case you get in an accident” and “if so-and-so jumped off a bridge, would you jump too”.

I am from learning to love the Earth and all She holds. From having a chance to believe in what I want to believe. From being able to search for the answers.

I’m from England and Wales and Native Canada, from milk from a cow, fresh eggs, butter churned in a jar, and chocolate cake that everyone tried to steal at lunch time.

From nights by a campfire and snipe hunts for fun. From early Christmas mornings and hours of board games and taking shots with my brother. From cousins and hikes and giggles of sisters.

I am from memories and stories passed from one to another. From doors never locked and porch lights turned on so that you can always find your way home again.

 

Now: You fill in your copy. Keep it for yourself, share it with me, share it with your family. I guarantee you will enjoy it. 🙂

I am from _______ (specific ordinary item), from _______ (product name) and _______.

I am from a two-story colonial with yellow aluminum siding_______ (home description… adjective, adjective, sensory detail).

I am from the _______ (plant, flower, natural item), the _______ (plant, flower, natural detail)

I am from Friday nights in sleeping bags watching The Dukes of Hazzard under La-Z-Boy forts and Catholic Republicans, from a teacher and an actuary and _______ (another family name) and _______ (family name).

I am from near-sightedness, nail biting, (description of family tendency) and Buick sedans (another one).

From “fine as frog’s hair” (something you were told as a child) and “tough toenails.”(another).

I am from 11:30 Sunday Mass, nine years of Catholic school, and  (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.

I’m from Hartford and Prague and Offenbach (place of birth and family ancestry), from Cookie Crisp, Chicken McKristen, American cheese melted on egg noodles, and Village Pizza.

From the _______ (specific family story about a specific person and detail), the _______ (another detail, and the _______ (another detail about another family member).

I am from _______ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).

 

 

A Winner in Fairmont Day 4

Writing on a real keyboard at the moment! I may be getting “iPhone thumb” LOL!

The clouds were grey again this morning, but we didn’t let it damper our spirits any! We’ve been getting up relatively early, and this morning was no different. We’ve been trying to get signed up for Archery (which is what Lucas wants to do most, but it is always full!) We’ll try again in the morning – we did talk to one of the directors and he mentioned that he would do another session if we still don’t have any luck tomorrow. We’ll get down there bright and early at 8 a.m.!

Bruce and I planned on doing boot camp this morning while the kids played “fuze ball” (sp?) and pool at the Rec Centre. Bruce was surprised at what a tough workout that is! That’s what I’ve been trying to tell him! We know how to workout!

After that, Rebecca had a Bath Basket class that she enjoyed immensely! The boys hung out and buzzed that little helicopter all over the place! We had another big lunch at “home” (I’m eating A LOT! here, but holiday calories don’t count, right!?) All of us headed back to the Rec Centre for Bingo! Rebecca promptly won the first two games!! She was pretty excited!

We popped up to the grocery store for some necessities and visited our new favorite artisan shop. Rebecca is fascinated by the owner/creator’s work on porcelain and glass. We’re going to give it a try ourselves back at home. Then, we had to stop in and get our new favorite dessert (yes, before supper!) – gelato (and an iced capp for me – not Timmies, the good stuff instead!)

There was a Sangria party back at the Rec Centre for an “appetizer bevy” just before supper. We managed to sneak in a chocolate chip cookie too! Told you I was eating a lot! After all that, we still managed to eat another big supper at home and are just hanging out, letting the day “digest”.

We’ll likely play the new game “Pick Two” again tonight since everyone had so much fun with it yesterday and then we’ll get to bed and head off for a hike in the morning! We’re hoping to get more sun tomorrow so that we can hit the pool!

Overall, the day was really a “Winner” in memories for everyone. That’s the important thing, right?

Why I Love to Ride or The Evolution of Cevraini Cycles

Coolest Bike EVER

A long time ago, there was a little girl, the oldest of four, who got an awesome brand new bike! It had a blue banana seat and the high bar at the back, with those great big handle bars that went waaaaay up high, kinda like a Harley motorcycle. Very cool.

One problem…she didn’t know how to ride it!

I remember that little girl. I’m pretty sure that bike was the coolest bike on the planet. I don’t remember who got it for me (oops!), but it was awesome. Probably my Dad. It’s something he would have quietly picked up for his girl.

Anyway, being the oldest of four, I knew that no one would have time to teach me to ride. So, I decided to teach myself. I remember going along, sitting on the bike, holding onto the picket fence trying to get my balance. I’m pretty sure that it actually worked, since I can ride a bike to this day and I don’t remember anyone teaching me otherwise.

That bike was freedom. I could take off away from my siblings, away from troubles, away from everything. As fast as my legs could take me! I remember that!

All too soon, I had to pass that bike on to my little brother and I got someone’s old 3 speed. Now, that was awesome too! Suddenly, I could climb that hill that we grew up on. More control, yet, more freedom. I put many miles on that bike! Except, now, I had others able to accompany me. We set up “roads” and “gas stations” and “drove” around our little “town” with our bikes. Hours and hours up and down that country driveway…

Then, I started to earn my own money. I started to save up. I knew what I wanted to save up for…a “mountain bike”. Back then, that meant a bike that weighed about 40 lbs! with big fat knobby tires. They had 6 or 8 speeds. Oh, and hand brakes! It was the perfect solution for my skinny 3-speed tires on the gravel roads. I wanted to go farther and faster everywhere was gravel!

I remember going to McLeod’s – the local hardware store – and getting my own bike. That I paid for. My siblings were so jealous! It was all I wanted. It was PERFECT!

My first ride – I was going to be cool – I offered to ride up the hill to the mailbox. Easy with all those gears I now had. Only, now, I had hand brakes. And one hand had the mail in it. And I had to go downhill and turn into our driveway in the middle of the hill. And I didn’t quite know which hand brake was the front and which was the back. And I was showing off. And…and….yep….face plant in the middle of the gravel road! And the mail went everywhere. And my siblings laughed. And my mom smiled, knowingly…. And my dad wondered what the heck had happened to my face since he’d left that morning! 🙂

Well, that wonderful bike stayed with me up until three years ago when I got my hybrid bike that I have now. I didn’t want to let it go, but there was no room, and it was soooo heavy, and I was soooooo out of shape! It was time to move off to that bicycle heaven in the sky…

The first year after I got this bike, I rode it, maybe, 3 times. Huffing and puffing all the way. Then we started training last year to do the MS Bike Tour and in about a year, I have put more than 400 km on that bike!

Last year, I suddenly remembered that freedom of riding from my childhood. How it feels to hop on and let my legs take me somewhere. I am not a runner, so the thrill I feel taking off on the bike is so very powerful to me!

To feel the wind in my face. To be flying down the side of the road, seeing the Rocky Mountains in the distance or hearing the birds singing. To watch the grass sway in the wind as I cruise by. It is so exhilarating! To ride for a couple of hours brings me such joy and elation! It is difficult to describe. I don’t mind the hills because I feel my legs pushing hard and my heart pounding in my chest, reminding me that I am ALIVE! I am MOVING! I am BLESSED.

I like to ride with my friends. It gives us a chance to talk, but also to just BE. Words don’t have to fill the spaces in time as the wheels keep turning. We are just there, miles disappearing under us. Cares being left at the side of the road. We are like kids again, out for a “joy ride”.

I went out for a ride recently on a warmish, Chinook kind of day. I long for Spring. I long for my tires to hit the road again, miles disappearing again. Spin class and stationary biking leaves me aching for the sunshine or even the windy days. But, they are something at least to keep me, while I pine for the fresh air and the dusty roads of my cycling journeys.

Christmas Snow

There’s another snow storm approaching today. We had a scary one last Friday too.  These storms do make it dangerous driving on the roads here. In general, the weather has been pretty mild this winter.

However, if you don’t have to go anywhere, it makes for a beautiful Christmas. I do love the snow for Christmas. Snow is Christmas for me.

  1. I remember a ton of snow at Christmas time when I was a kid – it was awesome to get a “snow day” before school was actually out for Christmas break! We could then stay home and play board games and giggle about what we might get from Santa!
  2. We grew up on a farm, on a hill with the river below us, it was a beautiful view across the valley of snow covered trees and snow sparkling on the fields. My dad chose that spot especially for the view.
  3. Our tobogganing hill was (still is!) famous! It is the place to go for an amazing ride. It is setup special so that we can have a big bonfire. It is a requirement to go tobogganing at least once during the Christmas break – still! As little kids, we had tons of fun going down the hill with our cousins and friends. As teenagers, we were allowed to have tobogganing “parties” at night during a full moon. It was so bright, you could see your shadow! The quiet of a snowy night on the hill is one of my favorite memories.
  4. Of course, the river meant lots of skating during the holidays. My dad and other dads in the community would use the river to flood the outdoor rink. I remember lacing up my skates and skating around with the shovel helping shovel snow off the ice until we had enough room to play! Goal posts were someone’s boots – boy were they cold when you put them back on! Many a puck was lost over the boards and into the snow. We’d always find them in the spring, ready again for next year!
  5. Skating on the river was cool too – dad would break a hole in the ice, and the water would “flood” the river. We could then skate all over on it. A recent fond memory I have is shortly after we got married, we went out on New Year’s Eve to my parents. The river had been recently flooded, so I convinced my hubby to lace up skates and go skating under the full moon along the river. He is a city boy, so he thought that was pretty amazing – and I thought it was pretty romantic 😉
  6. We have extended family that have horses and sleighs. It was always a tradition to go for a sleigh ride with our cousins and family friends. We’d all pile on, sitting on straw bales, snuggled under blankets. The joke always was to see who would get dumped off into a snow drift first! It was hilarious when you’d have to run and catch up to the sleigh again covered in snow! We’d stop and warm up by a fire that my dad and uncles got going. We’d roast hot dogs and have hot chocolate that my mom and aunts would always make sure we had along. We still try to take the kids out and do this during the Christmas break. It is a fond memory I love to share with them!
  7. We 4H’ers would head out in the Christmas snow to sing Christmas Carols for the older people in the neighborhood. Everyone pretended that it was a “drag”, but everyone still showed up and spent the evening laughing and singing and loving the occasional chocolate that someone would invariably have waiting for us at their door! My girlfriends and I went out last Christmas and did this with our kids! I hope we can do it again!
  8. I love the quiet that snow seems to bring. The way it sparkles in the sunshine or even the full winter moon. To have to squint as I’ve gazed across the field covered in snow, white everywhere. And it seems to me to be like a snuggly blanket – which is kinda weird since it’s so cold. It just feels like it is wrapped around everything, protecting until spring comes again.

These are some of the things that I love about all this snow that comes at this time of year.

The snow is not all bad 🙂 What do you like about the snow at this time of year?