Friday, December 23, 2011

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: A LETTER FROM SANTA

ROSE & AN OLD UNDERWOOD TYPEWRITER

Our three Moore boys were very young when they began to find letters from Santa under the Christmas tree, typed on their mom's old portable Underwood typewriter. The letters began with Mark, the eldest, who did not begin having little brothers until 1967.
Each year, after the Christmas tree was set up and decorated for the Christmas season, the typewriter would be set under the tree. Over the days before Christmas, it would contain typed letters to Santa, dictated to me by Mark (and later his little brothers Bryan and Kevin).
Santa himself would answer each letter sent from my boys.
The following letter appeared on the typewriter for Mark one morning in 1965, when he was four. At that time, deer were not yet a common sight in our back yards, and small children often yearned to see one. Santa had written in answer to Mark's questions about deer, reindeer and flying.
                  ___________________________________________                              

"North Pole, December 12,1965
Dear Markie,

I got your nice long letter yesterday. One of my helpers handed it to me just as I left the big toy barn.

I am truly sorry to say, I do not have any reindeer that are ready to retire, Markie. I know how much you have wanted one of your very own. Let me tell you something about deer, Markie. They love peace and quiet, and are unhappy anywhere but deep in the woods. They need to be free. It would be very selfish to keep any wild animal fenced up so that you could look at them whenever you wanted to.

But you can keep an eye on the apples that fall from the trees near the edge of your woods. I think one day a deer might appear there in the early morning or late afternoon. And you could watch it eat, and see it return to the woods in great, beautiful leaps. Believe me, it would be wonderful for you to watch.

I never cage up any of my reindeer. They roam free, and return to me before Christmas. They keep themselves in very fine shape for the Christmas run. They practice take-offs and landings, just like your mom does at the Concord Airpark

All of my reindeer are a little different from each other. Donder and Blitzen are the friskiest, liveliest, most joyful of all. They ride in back of my team right in front of the sleigh. 
I used to hitch them to the very front, but they were so fast, the other reindeer could hardly keep up. Then they would be so tired after the toys were delivered that sometimes I was afraid they wouldn't be able to finish the trip back home. And the rascally Donder and Blitzen also kept flying off course and pulling us into all kinds of trouble. 

Then one of my elves came to me and said, 'Santa, Donder and Blitzen are very high-spirited, and it makes us all happy to fly with them. But Dasher and Dancer are older and wiser. They should be the ones to lead us. They will not run your sleigh into dangerous places, because they have seen the things that can happen. They will fly fast, but not so fast the other deer will get tired before we have delivered the toys.'

What a fine idea! With Donder and Blitzen right in front of the sleigh so close to me, I was able to soak up their energy, and I never again fell asleep at the reins anymore. They make me feel quite young.

I appreciate your advice on good landing spots, Markie. I usually touch down where you said, in the backyard at the edge of your grandpa's back porch next door to your house. Quietly, quietly... I do not make a sound when I land.

You asked me what my Christmas trip is like. Oh my! I love to fly! On Christmas Eve, I give my sleigh a pre-flight check. I make sure the runners are on tight, and the packages are tied down. I check my reindeer harnesses and my own extra large seat belt. I dress warmly, and give my reindeer warm oatmeal with raisins and syrup and milk. And then we hitch up!

I use a special night-time flight chart to show me the way to the houses where children live. I keep an eye peeled for planes, and I have seen quite a few. But I don't think they see me, I whoosh by so fast!  Rudolph is my navigation light. My reindeer move us through the night sky so much quieter than airplanes. The only sound we make is a kind of swish, like the wind. And every now and then, I hear the reindeer click their hooves together. It is so peaceful.

When I fly over the Concord Airpark, I holler HO-HO-HO because they always leave their runway lit for me. If I have time, I shoot a few landings for fun. Your friend Adolph Luhta always checks for our tracks on his runway on Christmas morning.

I have to go back to the toy shop now, Markie. I still have a lot to do to be ready for Christmas Eve. If your mom has soloed by then, please tell her to keep the plane on the ground on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. It's just better that way!

Thanks for the apple bits you always leave for my reindeer. And remember to look for our tracks in the yard on Christmas morning!"
---Love to you from Santa Claus"
                             -------------------------------------------------------------

P.S. TO YOU FROM MARK'S MOM: The old typewriter in the picture looks just like the one I used to type the letters the boys would send to Santa. The real typewriter was sold at a garage sale by my middle son Bryan when he was a teen-ager. One Christmas after Bryan grew up, he went to an antique store and found a portable Underwood exactly like my old Christmas typewriter. He left it as a gift for me that Christmas. 
He might be surprised to know that I now use it to write my own Christmas  letters to Santa. I may be an older woman and a grandmother now, but I still believe in Santa. And he still believes in me!
P.S. I soloed on the second day of Christmas; 12-26-1965. (Sure surprised those turtle doves)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD...

 

The recent stories of the people impulsively paying off the Christmas-present layaways for others is a comforting reminder that there are and always have been good people in this world. I share words I wrote some years ago on that subject; they seem appropriate for the Christmas season.

GOOD PEOPLE

There ARE good people left;

sometimes I forget that when I watch the evening news.

A good person once drove many miles to return my wallet,

with credit cards, cash and treasured photos still intact.

Good persons offered us their home one bitter winter day

when fire drove us from our own;

they were concerned our babies would not thrive

in a hotel.

A good person stopped her car one gloomy day

and told me I should know my front-yard flower garden

cheered her every time she passed my home.

A good person found a family album

with the name of Moore inside, and she called me

and countless other Moores to try to send the treasure

to its proper home; it wasn't ours but we were grateful.

A good person,

the patient of a doctor I once worked for,

presented me one Christmas with a handmade rug;

its creation represented hours of pain from

his arthritic fingers.

There ARE good people left;

We should not forget that when we watch the evening news.

--Rose Moore, 1993


FAREWELL TO RICHARD...

Richard James Baldauf, 69, of Columbia, SC passed away December 11, 2011, surrounded by his loving family and faithful canine companion Gizmo. A memorial service was held at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Columbia.

Like me, he was born and raised in Painesville, Ohio. He was my younger brother, and I am proud of his accomplishments and contributions.

The son of the late Clarence William and Mary Ellen Baldauf, he was one of 11 children whose father died when Richard (Rick) was just 12 years old. Life was not easy from there, but Rick had drive and stamina and determination; and look how high he climbed and how many good things he did with his life, for his family and community and many people.

He attended St. Mary School and Harvey High School in Painesville, Ohio and was a U.S. Navy veteran. He lived in Texas and Virginia before moving to Greenwood, SC, where he graduated from Lander College with a B. S. degree in Business Administration.

He was employed as a District Network Manager by United Telephone of the Carolinas before moving to Columbia in 1987 to work in the administration of Gov. Carroll A. Campbell, Jr.

He retired from the State Energy Office in 2007.

An active participant in the Greenwood community, he was a member of Lander College Business Advisory Council, Greenwood High School Advisory Council, Lions Club and Chamber of Commerce. He served as chairman of People for Parks, was Board Trustee and Division Chair for United Way and was a founding organizer of Leadership Greenwood. He was actively involved with the Greenwood Community Theatre, Greenwood County Museum and St. Mark United Methodist Church.

A former chairman of the Greenwood County Republican Party, he was a member of the county committee and a delegate to numerous county and state conventions. A former Vice-chairman of the 3rd Congressional District GOP, he was also a co-chairman of the Salute to Two Presidents dinner in 1983, honoring President Ronald Reagan and Sen. Strom Thurmond; a member of the Re-elect Thurmond Committee in 1984; and a member of the Governor's Task Force on Citizen Participation in Education. This is but a partial list and does not include the loving manner in which he nurtured his family.

Rick is survived by his wife, Mary Kay Baldauf (whom he met when he mustered out of the military at Norfolk, VA), and daughters Mary Pat Baldauf and Elizabeth Anne (Beth) Baldauf, all of Columbia.

Other survivors include his brothers William of Dayton, OH; Bruce of Parma, OH; Stephen of Columbus, OH; Raymond of Pittsboro, NC; and Benjamin of Tacoma, WA; and his sisters Esther Underwood of Cuyahoga Falls, OH; Rose Moore of Concord Township, OH; Mary Prise Strzelczyk of Williamsburg, VA; Ruth Anne Yokie of Cordova, TN; and special friends Mary and Scott Elliott of Columbia and their children, John Douglas, Frances Anne and Will.

He was pre-deceased by a brother, Clarence Matthew Baldauf of Chapel Hill, NC.

Rick lived his last years struggling with a neurodegenerataive disease. Before his death, he arranged for his body to be donated to the Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Neuropathology Laboratory for research to help improve the care and treatment of patients suffering from devastating neurodegenerative diseases. His hope was that they could learn something from him that could save others from suffering with the same disease; or at the very least aid in effective treatment.

Rest in peace, my brother Richard; and Godspeed. I know there is a place of honor for you in the Hereafter, and someday we will meet again.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

I SHARE MY FRIEND, THIS WEEPING WILLOW TREE...

I love the weeping willow. Despite the fact that many people hate the sometimes messy tree, I took a photo today of a willow I know well, and now I share it with you.
Its shape is a bit peculiar, I admit. I have passed it almost daily over the years, but not until this time of year, when the colors of all the other deciduous trees have disappeared from view, do I fully see its glory. 
The willow holds its golden colors back until the last, and then it reminds me of a showgirl... a solo performer dancing under blue skies and sunshine, as well as in dark clouds and rain. In these days and weeks of the cold pre-winter, I always smile to see this willow looking like a long-haired blonde whose hair is being buffeted in all directions by the winds.
 
For sure, the willow is a NIMBY tree... Not In My Back Yard (or front yard or side yard or anywhere within at least 200 feet of the nearest septic field, water line, sewer line)... It's water-craving roots will move a great distance to invade such areas. Not good!
And certainly the willow does not belong in a residential yard or anywhere you're trying to grow a lawn. Willows, after all, are self-pruners. More accurately, Mother Nature is the pruner, in tandem with her storms, preserving the main frame by cutting out the weakest branches of the willow tree itself. But what a mess that pruning process can be; small branches and twigs all over the place; and the tiny leaves, wherever they fall, will thin your grass considerably and are all but impossible to rake out.
If you have acreage, however---and especially if that acreage has a creek, river, a lake, drainage basin, or slump that holds a lot of water---the willow can be beautiful and beneficial too. It can help prevent erosion of the shorelines; and when given all that space in which to spread, the willow tree can be magnificent.
 
Or... you can enjoy the tree on someone else's land, as I do, or in the wild. In parkland or in rural countryside this time of year in my northeast Ohio, you can spot a willow without trying. It's the golden blaze of its leafery that says goodbye when all the other autumn colors have long since given up the ghost.
And later as the dying winter melts toward a brand new season, the same trees will be a harbinger of the coming springtime. If the willow is the last deciduous tree of autumn to share its colors with you, the bark of its branches and twigs will also be the first to salute you with that same fine golden color when spring is in the wings.
The willow tree awakens early, giving hope to winter-worry humans who know enough to look for the brightness of its signal.


AFTER NOTE-3/23/2012---I passed this land today. Amidst an early spring with every tree in bloom, I was startled to see the willow---and every other tree on the property---lay cut in pieces on the green spring grass! For whatever reason that was done, practical or otherwise, this passer-by was sad.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

DINGING THE PRETTY RED SLEIGH...

If I had been Santa, and I'd have dinged up my shiny new fire-engine red sleigh on Christmas Eve, I couldn't have felt worse.
The "ding victim" I speak of today is our Magnum RT in Inferno Red; with 19" tires, moon roof, Hemi engine with fuel-saving 4/8 horsepower; a Mercedes-computerized stability package and a whole lot of other good things.
It has been spunky, responsive, sporty and fun, and maneuverable to the nth degree. We have continued to love it as much as we did when it was delivered in October 2004.
In the 7 years since, it has spent lots of good time on the road with us---boonying around town; exploring country roads; travelling to out-of-state places; cruising on warm summer evenings---and we have never stopped enjoying this car. To us, it has continued to seem perennially new!
This morning I was backing out of the garage when (for whatever reason) a sudden explosive sneeze racked my body; so violent a sneeze I still feel sore in my rib cage. In mid-sneeze I heard a sickening THUNK! Oh no! Sure enough, the sneeze had apparently caused me to turn the wheel... and the car and the door-frame collided.
And Oh!  the poor car up to this episode has never been dented or scratched. Its showroom-fresh looks have been maintained with such a good, reflective shine that it was impossible today to get my camera to adequately show the depth of the brand new crease in the left front fender.
Oh Rose! Through more than 50 years of driving, you have never been the sort to crease your car backing into or out of a garage or anything else. And it had to be our Magnum when you did!
Bob was forgiving, though his face fell when he saw the car; it even broke the heart of the body-shop man who details the car each year, and who falls in love with our car whenever he sees it.
He hasn't yet presented the estimate!
 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

 

WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN WHEN YOU OVERSTUFF A GUEST...

  Years ago, over-stuffing on Thanksgiving was the fashion in my family. 
  Most of my photos from those years show a houseful of family draped over chairs, couches, the floor... sleeping off the meal.
  One year after dinner, our mischievous sons stayed awake long enough to sneak a "For Sale" sign onto their overstuffed dad.
  They photographed the moment for posterity.

(Fortunately, nobody purchased Dad!)
THANKSGIVING CIRCA 1990

THANKSGIVING NOTES FROM ROSE...


*I do not celebrate Black Friday. Or Black Thursday. Before too long, I fear, such blatant Christmas Consumerism will expand into Black November.

*Rose's Rules for Thanksgiving Dinner: Gather at your table with an open heart. And don't talk politics.

*My favorite Thanksgiving item is the stuffing; it's the main reason I cook the turkey.

*Speaking of stuffing, a good hostess never pushes the guests to stuff themselves. Let them make their own decision. To stuff or not to stuff.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A STORY TO REMEMBER ON THE UPCOMING BIRTHDAY OF OUR ELDEST SON...

It was Easter week of April 2007. My husband Bob and I were driving from Ohio to join our son Mark and his family on Easter Break. We could not have known what was taking place as we neared Orange Beach; it involved our family.
 
Our cell phone rang, and it was Chris, Mark's wife. She was watching the event take place, and she was sharing it with us, and she and our granddaughters were terrified as they watched. Soon she was able to tell us all had turned out well and we'd hear all about it when we joined them at the beach.
 
When we arrived, the Tradewinds Condominiums were still abuzz with the story. Our son Mark and his wife and daughters had been at Orange Beach for several weeks preceding our arrival. When we did arrive, we knew we'd find them lounging on the beach beside the water, and we walked out to find them. As we passed the pool area on our way out to the beach to join them, our son Mark was a subject of the conversation.

"I thought I was seeing two people die in those waters out there," we heard a woman said. "And when he (Mark) jumped in, we thought it would be three. But he brought them in alive ..."
 
The details were disturbing to us as the parents of this unexpected hero. It had been a stormy day with high winds and six-to seven-foot waves---the sort of combination that breeds dangerous rip currents in the normally placid Gulf.

The Moores had set up chairs on the beach to be closer to the "stage" as the surf put on an awesome, roaring show they could not have seen back home in Ohio. "Mark heard something," his wife Chris recalled later. "We looked out into the waters and saw a man and a boy in trouble... Mark jumped in. It was terrifying to watch him being tossed around and sucked down repeatedly beneath the water... "

Mark wouldn't call himself a hero. It was not by conscious thought, he said; in fact, he does not remember making a decision to attempt the rescue."I'm not sure how it happened," he said. "I remember seeing those people in the water... (and) looking up and down the beach and realizing there wouldn't be a lifeguard. After that, the next thing I remember is actually being out there in the water, having a terrible time with it...

"I reached the boy and he was saying, 'Help me, mister!' and I wasn't exactly sure I was going to be able to get us both to shore. The waves kept knocking me down and pulling me under... I'd get hold of the boy and he'd pull away toward his father. He may be just a kid, but I still have bruises on my arms from his struggling... "

Later we listened as the boy's father, Ed Ennis of Louisville, KY, spoke of those desperate minutes. He had heard his boy shouting and seen him being carred away by the water, and he had jumped into the water after his son. The rip tides were in full control as the father and son struggled.
 
Later, he watched his son Brandon's resistance to rescue after Mark had reached them in the water, and he could see what his son was doing. "He was trying to come back to me,"  Ed told us, and the boy agreed. "I didn't want to leave my dad behind."

According to witnesses, when Mark got close to shore, two men stepped into the water to help him hand the boy off to safety, and then Mark headed back out toward the man in the water.
 
"When I looked back to see the father in the water, he looked limp, " Mark recalled. "I wasn't sure he was even conscious... "
 
Ed Ennis told us he was conscious, but simply exhausted beyond his ability to continue. "When I saw Brandon saved, I gave up," he remembered. "I just couldn't fight anymore; I had absolutely nothing left in me," he said.

"When I reached Ed, I slapped him; maybe I actually slugged him, I don't know." said Mark. "It made me mad to think that he could die on me... I worked to get beneath and behind his body to push him ahead of me through the water, and somehow we both made it."
 
On shore, the paramedics had arrived. Within a day the father and son were able to seek Mark out and thank him. They were a charming family, and we were thankful they---and our own family---were intact.
 
Mark marks his 50th birthday on Nov. 1, 2011. We honor him by sharing this story from the past. (He doesn't read my blog, so he won't know it).
 
 

 











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Friday, October 14, 2011

WINDY DAY OPENS UP OCTOBER SKY...

 

HAIKU FOR TODAY...

October winds roar,
hand-in-hand with autumn rains.
The trees get naked.
--Rose Moore 10-14-2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

OCTOBER HERE AND NOW...



October swirls around me, changing all my valley greens to gold. This is where I want to be, in a place where every season speaks a different tongue.


Yes, I feel winter lurking in the chilly nights. But the season also thins the leafy screen that hides my creek all summer long. Now I see the moon at night reflected on the water's face; and by day I see my resident blue heron in the water, sharing lessons in the art of patient fishing.

"Mama Deerest" has been impossible to spot through summer greenery, but now I watch her crossing daily with her brood, strolling leisurely and unconcerned across the creek toward the nests of hemlock, where her family will nest for winter. 

In the frosty darkness of October nights, the leaves no longer hide my skyward view, and I can see the autumn brilliance of the stars.

Some may see October as the loss of summer nights and a harbinger of things that lie ahead, but I'm a creature of the here-and-now, an ardent fan of living-where-I-am. 

I see October as she is, however temporary. 

And I enjoy her while she's here.






Sunday, September 11, 2011

WE REMEMBER 9-11...

TEN YEARS AGO TODAY, the September morning was incredibly beautiful. Bob and I hadn't bothered to get dressed. Instead, we lingered long and lazy over coffee, enjoying the national TV news.

The program ended, then we realized it HADN'T ended. We were seeing a live shot of a passenger jet impaled in one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Before long, we watched in horror as a second plane hit the second tower; America was under attack! It didn't end with New York City; Washington was next!

We sat like statues, watching the developments. When we noticed one of the Twin Towers appeared to be leaning, my husband and I decided it had to be an illusion due to camera angle. But the great tower actually did collapse upon itself, and through national television we watched it happen... and then the second tower!

At some point as we watched from our Ohio that morning, we were startled by the too-loud, too low, too-close sound of a large airplane overhead; we could feel its rumble! As the sound faded into the distance, we put it out of our minds. In later weeks and months, as details emerged about a hijacked plane that had flown into our northern Ohio skies, we became convinced the plane we'd heard was Flight 93, headed toward Pennsylvania with the heroic passengers who had heard of the attacks through cell phone calls and decided they would free the plane or bring it down! In saving other lives, they lost their own.

For a period of time after the attacks, there would be no passenger planes in our skies; before their absence we could not have realized how much we'd miss them. The first time I would see a commercial jet overhead again was at a rural festival. An old man whipped off his hat and waved it skyward, shouting, "Look!" We crowds of people stood together, smiling upward as we watched that shiny plane traverse the sky. We pondered... When and why and how had that simple every-day sight become so unique and precious to us?

Things changed in other ways. No longer would we stroll into the airport with friends or family as they awaited passenger-loading. No longer would we linger at the windows to wave goodbye as the plane departed. No longer would we board a plane without the growing factors of ever newer rules and humiliations; eventually we'd feel less like passengers and more like perpetrators undergoing a police frisking.

Jobs were instantaneously lost as a result of the attacks. Our economy was seriously disrupted in many ways for quite some time too. Involved as I was in a weekly newspaper, I watched close-up as advertising revenues dried up, and the same was happening nationally; the slow-down was serious.

In a video smuggled out from Usama Bin Laden's base and played through Arab TV, we watched him admit that Al Quaida had planned and staged the attacks. He talked with satisfaction among his cohorts about the effects of the attacks on our country, emotionally and economically.

What must NOT have pleased him, and must have surprised him, were certain other effects. Our people were not split apart, as he had hoped; they were drawn together in great numbers to prayer, faith, churches. Unabashed patriotism re-emerged from its long hibernation. Flags were flown in great abundance. Americans enlisted in the military in great numbers. There was a strong united front among us; country was first among Republicans and Democrats and Independents alike.

That didn't last forever, to be sure, but it lasted quite some time; long enough for us to look at what our country means to us, and to marshal our resources and begin to bring things back together again.

In the week preceding this grim anniversary, Americans have brooded and worried. But perhaps the anniversary should have stirred less fear and instead served as a reminder of how united we Americans were in the days and months that followed 9-11.

Without catastrophe, or even with it, can we be that way again?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

OUT OF DATE, FOR SURE...

Lately Bob and I have become fans of HGTV (House and Garden TV). It's been so good for us to learn our home is out of date; it's surprising just HOW out of date!

On HGTV, we watch the couples follow realtors through newer homes with baths and kitchens that look pristine, and we hear the couples say, "Of course we'd have to gut this... it need serious updating."

We see the couples standing in airy and nicely carpeted rooms and we hear them say, "Of course this carpet has to go; we want hardwood everywhere."

We watch customers with the tightest of budgets insisting on granite counter tops; stainless steel appliances; marbled bathrooms, plus room for a "man cave" and a craft room and an office and an outdoor kitchen and other such "basics."

The longer we watch, the more we have begun to realize how far behind and seriously lacking we have become. We built this place in 1993, and we've been so happy here we haven't even been aware of our shortcomings.

How could we have gone so long without seeing that everything around us in our home is out of date; including US! Every bit of everything around us needs gutting and updating; including us.

Worst of all, House and Garden fans, we're still happy with our house; and with each other!

We think we'll stay...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

SEPTEMBER MORNINGS

IN MY NORTHEAST OHIO VALLEY, SEPTEMBER MORNINGS ARE THE BEST OF ALL THE SEASONS OF THE YEAR.
 
WORTH GETTING UP FOR, RISING EARLY, SO AS NOT TO MISS A MOMENT OF THEM.
 
SEPTEMBER, I SALUTE YOU.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

THE BOY-SPANKER....

(These two photos are of my three Moore boys, circa 1972 and 1998, all of whom survived something we called "The Boy Spanker")
 
It was a very thick old yardstick, printed with a 1910 local advertising logo. Given to me by an old Hardware store owner, the yardstick had been in my home for years when, in the early 1970s, it first became known in my house as "The Boy Spanker."
 
At the time, I had returned from the hospital after surgery, to begin a recovery of several weeks. Somehow my three mischievous sons interpreted that as a promise of a bit of freedom---a bit of supremacy, so to speak, over a mother who probably wouldn't be able to do much about it. It began with a bit of sass, and then a bit more, just because they thought they could.
I knew them well enough, and I was prepared. From beneath my pillow I drew out the big old yardstick and placed it on a small boy's bottom as a bit of warning. The hefty look of that old yardstick convinced them they didn't want to dare a harder whack. For years thereafter, whenever I was pushed too far, I reached for that yardstick. It was all that was needed; I never actually had to use it.
Years later, one of my boys was home on break from college. Legally, he was 18, a fully grown adult who could make his own decisions, and in a minor confrontation he reminded me of that. He was sitting on the couch beside me, and The Boy Spanker was sitting handily nearby. I reached for it, and when I smacked his work boots, we both were in for a real surprise: That Boy Spanker splintered instantly in many little pieces!
I don't know who was more astonished---the boy or the Mom.  We both broke into spontaneous laughter as he declared, "Wow! If we boys had known that yardstick wasn't everything we thought it was, we sure would have defied it a long time ago!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A K9 SOLDIER WHO DIED IN THE CHOPPER ATTACK IN AFGHANISTAN...

This is Bart. On the "Pet Advisor.com" website, I found the photo and information about his death in the Afghanistan chopper attack.
He has a soulful sadness in his face, does he not?
Rest in peace, K9  Bart.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

FAMILY STANDING BY....

A windy storm that roared in weeks ago blew out a screen on the "tree house" porch outside our bedroom.

We hadn't gotten around to putting it back, and early this morning I found Bob out on that porch trying as carefully as possible to "herd" a juvenile robin back outside through the open section. The little bird was clearly exhausted; perhaps from fear or perhaps because he'd spent the night trying to find his way out of the porch.

Bob had noticed the bird when it had begun tossing itself frantically against the porch walls and our sliding doors. Now clearly terrified, it was breathing with great difficulty as it settled to the floor, defeated.

I walked slowly to the little bird, crooning softly, and it didn't resist as I bent and gently picked it up and set it outside on the wide rail of the open deck.

Then Bob and I sat silently inside the porch, watching to see if the little bird would recover enough to fly away; we were also on the watch for predators that might be eyeing the little robin as an easy mark for breakfast.

As I had set the bird on the rail, an adult robin had flown in and settled on the glass top of a nearby table. Soon another robin---a juvenile---flew up to the gutter overhead, and yet another young robin perched itself on the edge of the awning. Now as we humans sat quietly watching the little bird, they seemed to be doing the same.

After a little time, the little guy on the rail began moving its head slightly, and after another few minutes he recovered enough to execute tentative flight into the thick branches of a nearby tree.

He was immediately followed into that same spot in that same tree by the robins who had been standing watch.

Can you blame me if I choose to believe they were the little bird's mama and siblings? Can you find a better explanation for this quiet little episode?

I share this because, though I have watched many robin families raised in nests in the eaves and evergreens around our country home, I never seen such evidence of family solidarity among them after the babies have left the nest.

My husband Bob, in support of the happy ending, made a point of replacing the screen immediately.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

OLD GLORY AT HALF MAST: HONORING OUR FALLEN OF 8-06-2011 IN AFGHANISTAN...

We lowered our flag to half-mast yesterday the 6th of August, 2011, to honor our fallen that day in Afghanistan. It will remain at half-mast until after the return to U.S. soil and interment of all these fallen heroes.

A LITTLE ONE-ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON...

This postcard photo was shared with me by my son Bryan Moore, a resident of the northwest coast who was vacationing recently at a scenic lake community in the state of Washington.
The lake accomodates a tiny community, and that community and its lake can be accessed only by water or aircraft.
I send this photo less for the picturesque nature of the winter schoolhouse scene than for Bryan's accompanying note:
 
"The schoolhouse you see in the picture is still in use... Washington's smallest school district. Three kids graduated from 8th grade there this year. For 9th grade and beyond, the kids either home-school or stay with relatives somewhere else (for their high school education).
"Reportedly, they do quite well, which just goes to show that big money and technology aren't really the key to education.
"It's absolutely beautiful here, and everyone says the fishing is good. (Not for me, though)."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

SEEING MY GARDENS THROUGH NEW EYES...

 

I have never NOT been a gardener; gardens are my glory and they always have been.
 
Years ago a man drove in to tell me that my front-yard gardens had given him great pleasure; and he loved to look at them as he drove by.
 
"Whether my day has been good, or whether it has been bad," he told me, "Seeing your gardens has never failed to make me feel better."
 
And then he dropped a bombshell; he was COLOR-BLIND!
 
How, then, could my gardens give him pleasure; they were always colorful.
 
He explained to me that he could see my gardens though texture and balance and contrast. And from that day forward, as I planted my gardens, I tried to see them as he would see them.
 
I am a gardener who has photographed my gardens every year, in all their stages. And now I also photograph them in black and white, and it has taught me something.
 
(Rose About Town accepts comments at randrmoore@gmail.com)


(Click on photos one at a time to enlarge and get more out of them. RMM)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

WHEN MADDIE WAS YOUNG...

BLESSED IS SHE WHO GOES AROUND IN CIRCLES (WITH GRAMMA & GRAMPA MOORE AT THE TRACTORS SHOWS) FOR SHE SHALL BE KNOWN AS A BIG WHEEL!!
Photo taken when Maddie was 4. HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY 7-24-11, MADDIE!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

LIVING ON IN A WILDFLOWER GARDEN...

My mother has been gone for 35 years, but her favorite wildflowers--tiger lilies--bloom before my eyes for long spells every summer.
The summer after her death, I had lifted up a few bulbs from her own lily garden and transplanted them at my own home, and they were happy there. They flourished with just a little bit of help from me, and the lily garden spread a bit each year.
In 1993, when we built the home in which Bob and I now live, I brought a few of the lilies that had begun with Mom at her own home. I didn't expect them to grow as well, considering our valley's days of open sun are shorter than at the flowers' previous two homes. Yet the lilies have seemed even happier here in the valley.
I now have an expansive garden of those wild lilies. They light up my summer in a broad space beside our garden house, and they seem to last much longer than their brethren that grow so prolifically along our northeast Ohio roadsides.

Each September on Mom's birthday, I have quietly taken a rose to her tombstone. Now it dawns on me that I should also visit her grave in July and leave a tiger lily bloom.
She did love those lilies, and my own lily garden originated from her own.
And after all, a tiger lily (and my garden full of them), seem to me to be a better memorial than the slab of marble that bears her name in the cemetery in which she is interred.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A SPECIAL DAY AT CONCORD AIRPARK...

Today from my yard I could see and hear an unusual number of little planes above me. All morning, they had been taking off and landing from a neighboring property up the road, Concord Airpark.

I knew what that activity was about; today is the local EAA chapter's first annual Pilot Proficiency Day... with fly-in breakfast, seminars, swap meets, aviation contests and more.

The goings-on have been taking me back a long way, to what many of us old airpark fans often refer to as "the golden days" at the airpark.

I learned to fly there in the 1960s, when that airfield was always alive with activity of people, planes and families. The late and great Adolph Luhta was the operator, and every year or two there was an air show there which was as much fun as any of the big professional events; maybe better!

I often ran the airport's ground-to-air radio. I was also a member and officer of the airpark's social club called "The Skylarks," which planned the airshow, the potluck socials, the hangar dances and any other activity the group could think of to play host to pilots and their families, and sometimes the airpark's neighbors.

I particularly remember a holiday dance at the Airpark. Adolph groused about having to clear the hangar for the occasion, but we all knew that was mostly his usual "gruff bluff." On arriving at the dance, no one was really surprised to see that he had installed an attractive tent-like walkway from the office to the hangar, to keep us out of the cold.

The walkway and hangar were lit up like a Christmas tree, and when we walked into the dance, it was plain to us that Adolph had also put in great efforts in making things hospitable and party-hearty and warm for his guests. He was a great host. He had even taken great care to see that the big juke-box was stocked with just the right music for good dancing. And, as I recall, he also made sure he danced with every woman there! (A burly man, he was nonetheless light on his feet, and an excellent dance partner).

In summer afternoons, evenings and weekends, the airpark was a magnet for all kinds of people---not just pilots and students and instructors, but neighbors and other visitors who drove in or walked in, to sit outside on the metal glider or a fence, to watch the take-offs and landings and socialize with the airpark's staff and the regulars.

In any season, the airpark's lounge was always a place where old pilots sat and shared what we called "hangar tales" (the aviation version of "fish tales"). Among the pilots, there was often an assortment of non-pilots too, and they were there for the fun of listening.

Early this afternoon, as I headed out on an errand, I drove by the airpark. I have to admit that the cars, planes, people and activity there made this old girl feel young again!

I think that's called nostalgia.


(Credit: photo from EAA chapter website)

(It also has to be noted that the airpark owner hosting today's EAA event is Connie Luhta, widow of the late Mr. Luhta. She also holds the airport office open to the monthly EAA chapter meetings).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

THUNDER MOON AND OTHER NAMES...

Shortly after 2 a.m. tomorrow morning, the "Thunder Moon" of July will wax into completion of its fullness.

I like the thunder name, given to the full moon of July milleniums ago, by Native Americans. Thunder, after all, is common in this month of storms.

The full moon of July had other names among the American Indians, depending on the tribe. The Heat Moon... The Buck Moon... The Moon of Red Lilies... The Moon When Birds Cast Their Feathers... The Moon When Cherries Turn Ripe... The Blueberry Moon...

The Native Americans bequeathed these names in direct tribute to something in nature that was important to their existence. The life they lived, after all, was natural.

In this complex world of today, what would we "civilized people" name the full moon of July?

Would we call it The Water-The-Garden Moon?... The Complain-About-The-Heat-and-Humidity Moon?... The Hot Nights Moon?... The Lazy Days Moon?... The Expensive Light and Water Bill Moon?... The Go-To-The-Beach Moon?... The Sweat-and Steam Moon?...

Rose About Town will think about this if, by some miracle, she is able to stay awake til 2 a.m. to contemplate the fullness of the moon.

But there's been a sleepy, sultry feeling in this day, and chances are your blogger Rose will fall asleep before the moon appears. And so my nomination for its name might be: The Sleepy Rose Moon.

Send to me your own choice of a name for the full moon of July. Anything received at randrmoore@gmail.com will be shared with readers of this blog.

Monday, July 4, 2011

AN INDEPENDENCE DAY SALUTE TO OLD GLORY...

Whenever I see our great American symbol, the Stars and Stripes, flowing freely in the wind against our American skies, I am moved by the sight.

Let's all today celebrate the birthday of a country that began as a colony of Great Britain and fought its way into independence.

"God Bless America, land that I love... "

Friday, June 24, 2011

KEEPING COOL--1940s AND TODAY...

Girls will be girls--sometimes sugar and space, and sometimes NOT! To illustrate, I share these two photos.


One is of Rose, your blogger, demurely watching her little brothers as they cool off in a porcelain "pool" of water; circa 1946.

The other is of Rose's summer-rowdy grandaughters and their friends after a muddy ride through the boonies on their ATVs; Summer 2011.

The 1946 photo may show your blogger as a sweet, clean girl in a lady-like summer dress, but her interior spirit was much like the "mud babes" in the 2011 photo.

She may have been required in those "good old days" to try to maintain a lady-like appearance. But it has to be said that she occasionally sneaked away to climb trees, swing on vines, go fishing, dig foxholes, play in the dirt...

Oh, how she would have loved to behave like these modern-day "mud babes"!

Go for it, Girls!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

BACK TO THE PAST: DAD AND HIS '34 BUICK...


     
     Here is a photo I found on the Internet a few years ago. It's a good photo for me to share because it's a 1934 Buick, and I seldom think of my father without thinking of his own 1934 Buick. I don't think this is the same model as Dad's; his may have been a model or two higher. But the point is, it's a black 1934 Buick--the only kind of car we kids had ever seen our father driving.
     Before he married Mom, Dad would buy a new car every year or two. Then he bought that Buick, and whatever it was about that car, he loved it so much he never let go of it. He purchased that car when it was new, and it was still our family car in 1955 when Dad died.
     To this day, I identify Dad with that car. As a child, I would listen for the sound of that car when Dad came home from his work at the B&O Railroad. He often accepted overtime---it brought good money for his family---and so he often arrived home after dark, and often we kids would already be in bed. I would leave my bedroom window open just a bit, whatever the season, so I could hear him arrive. The motor of Dad's car made a sound like wind rushing though leaves, and I loved it.
     Our big family of kids was, however, the subject of ridicule when Dad occasionally came to school to pick us up. Nobody else had a car that old, and in those days, society had not yet begun to appreciate old cars as classics. The sight of all us kids crammed into that old car prompted a lot of jokes.
     The only ding on that car was on the top portion of the front fender, and it apparently had happened when something heavy fell on the car while Dad was at work. Nobody, including my father, had ever been able to hammer out that dent, even with the help of a torch to try to soften the metal.
     Every year when spring arrived, Dad would let me help him with the "spring things" the car needed---and that meant cleaning and maintenance procedures. I'd help him as we used a wire brush to give the horse-hair upholstery a thorough cleaning, and I'd watch as he re-tarred the roof and the places where the fenders met the car body...
     Dad was meticulous in that car's care. Every oil change Dad performed was written and dated on the walls of his garage, and every license plate (renewed yearly with NEW metal plates) was nailed on the garage walls.
     After Dad died, Mom missed our father terribly, and she so identified that car with Dad that finally she couldn't bear seeing it in the garage any more. She sold it to a neighbor boy for $10...including all the old license plates.
     Dad had passed away at the age of 50, and the car was still in perfect shape when he died. Considering the care it got from my dad, that car could possibly still have been in use if Dad had lived to be a much older man. 
     My husband Bob and I had just begun to talk about asking Mom if we could buy the car, when Mom unexpectedly sold it. I was greatly disappointed, but I found some comfort in the fact that it had been sold to a boy who had apparently purchased it BECAUSE of its age. He had lived in our neighborhood and had been familiar with the car and and grown to love it.
     I wonder if it still exists somewhere.
 
 
Photo of Dad, when he was still a bachelor who would buy a new car every year.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

SUMMER'S STILL EXUBERANT, AND DIRT'S OKAY...

I wrote this several years ago, and now today my all-American country-girl granddaughter Maddie hosted her high school graduation party. She was the subject of this writing. And so I share this with you all.
SUMMER ALWAYS COMES along in its own good time, never held to a date marked on the calendar as the start of the summer solstice.
This most excellent of seasons was more than welcome when, after a long spell of unseasonable cold, summer's first warm days finally tiptoed into northeast Ohio. Its arrival found me in utter relaxation beside the waters of a country pond.
The sun was sliding down toward the west horizon on that perfect afternoon, and a younger generation of my family was resting with me from their hard day's work in yard and garden. I had completed my own small donation to the day---pruning thorny shrubs of roses that had left their battle scars along my arms from wrist to elbow.
With the reward of a cool drink in my tired hand, I listened to the birds, watched the lazy waters and thought back to the summers of my girlhood.
Few persons of my years forget those days of barefoot freedom. The memories stay with us as if the privilege of those summers of our childhood belonged to us alone and could not be duplicated in any other time and place.
Our recollections include the myriad of summer jobs---berry picking, baby sitting, paper routes and such---as well as family chores for which we were responsible.
Our homes weren't air-conditioned against the heat of summer nights; our solution to the heat lay in the great outdoors. On such wilting nights, the rules of schedule were set aside; any breeze that blew the clouds across a summer moon was excuse enough for parents to come out to the porches and watch us capture fireflies and play our hide-and-seek.
Sometimes with our rooms too warm for rest, we children were allowed to slip out to the porches to sleep where it was only slightly cooler. Our parents would sit with us awhile, then retire inside and leave us with our night-light jars of fireflies. It mattered not how late we summer children jabbered until we finally fell asleep; a school-day morning didn't lurk to hamper us; when we woke, we woke; and that was that.
I, a girl with seven brothers and some tomboy tendencies, loved the daytimes of my summers too---hiking through the nearby woods and splashing through the creeks; slapping my bare feet in mud; making echoes in the mysterious cool darkness of the culverts underneath the nearby railroad tracks; climbing trees and sometimes swinging Tarzan-style on a vine in the big old apple tree behind our house; digging foxholes; fishing in the city ponds down in the flats...
Getting dirty was okay with me, and okay with my parents too---as long as I was wearing old playclothes and not ruining a better outift. 
In fact, my mother used to say, "A child needs a bit of dirt to grow on," and she seemed to mean that.
IN THE SUMMERY dusk last weekend, as I wandered in my mind through those childhood summers, I wondered: Would a modern girl enjoy such earthy summer hours, or are they too sophisticated now? 
As I pondered that, I heard a motor sound emerging from the nearby woods, and as I watched, an ATV came out into the open with two well-helmeted young people aboard. They pulled up skillfully beside the patio on which I sat and pulled the hemets from their heads.
Their ATV was slathered generously with the mud of woodland trails, and they were just as muddy as their vehicle, head to foot. Without their helmets, I could see two joyful, wind-tanned, teenage country girls, smiling broadly through the mud.
I knew these girls; I had seen them dressed in finer garb, as beautiful and girl-y and sophisticated as any girls their age could be. I smiled to see that they could also look like this and feel good about it.
The two clasped hands and jumped with squeals into the chilly waters of the pond. Presto! the dirt was gone; no damage done. (Perhaps my mom was right).
Maybe summer hasn't really changed that much, despite our modern times. Apparently, it's still a season of exuberance and joy and freedom, and dirt is still okay---even for such sweet and pretty teenage girls.
ENJOY THE SUMMERS of your life; they seem to fade away so soon.
(Your blogger, an older Rose of Summer with a bit of tomboy still remaining, can be reached at randrmoore@gmail.com)


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Sunday, June 5, 2011

CAREFREE CAROLINA AND "THE WRIGHT STUFF" AT KITTY HAWK...


ON A MERRY DAY IN MAY, we Three Amigos---my Virginia sister Mary, my husband Bob and I---had been staying at a Sandbridge condo at Virginia Beach, between the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the peaceful Back Bay.
With Mary's son Bill as our congenial chauffeur, we all headed from Virginia Beach to North Carolina to meet finally meet up with "Uncle Willie Dough"---in the form of a life-size statue at Wright Brothers Memorial Park at Kitty Hawk. Not until last fall, in a visit with my Carolina cousin Rachel Dough Smith, did I learn of our family connection with the historic First Flight of the Wright Brothers.
In 1901, Dough had become a surf man at the Federal Life Saving Station at Kill Devil Hills. He and the men of that station befriended the Wrights and kept them supplied with food and any help and supplies they might need as they prepared for that historic flight. The Wrights would later write of the surf men as "hospitable and indispensable." (The Stations later evolved into the U.S. Coast Guard, and its entwined history with the Wrights at Kitty Hawk is well recorded in Coast Guard archives).
On Dec. 17, 1903, the day of the flight, the Wrights raised a flag as a signal to the surf men that help was needed. Willie was one of three who answered the call. Willie helped to push the plane into place for take-off and pushed it off the rail for take-off from the hill. Later when WIlbur and Orville Wright returned to the Hills for further flight experiments, Willie continued to help. In 1907 he settled the name Wilbur Wright Dough on a newborn son. Later he testified before a Congressional Committee as to the details of the First Flight, and in 1928 as a witness and survivor, he helped to lay the cornerstone of the Wright Brothers Monument at Kitty Hawk. He died in 1931.
On that sunny afternoon at Kitty Hawk, Bob and my sister and I, with my nephew, frolicked around the park like little kids, knowing full well that this idyllic weather was far different from the harsh day when Wilbur and Orville had changed history.
WE LATER RE-UNITED with my cousin Rachel and her daughter Donna Smith Rose, but the big pajama party we had planned at the big old beach house did not materialize. Donna and her family live and operate a commercial fishing operation along the beautiful Albemarle Sound, in a section designated as "Old Fishing Village," and the women were in the middle of the 24-hour work-days that surround the busy soft-shell crab season.
The Rose Family product is shipped to many places up and down the Atlantic Seaboard. Although soft-shell prices have collapsed this year, due to competition from Asia, the season was fortunately producing a record harvest, and the family's financial bottom line would be maintained despite the extra work.
At Donna's place, we got some lessons in the work they do, and we were served what the women called "a left-overs lunch" which included freshly fried crab, barbecued chicken, corn bread, homemade dessert, and that southern staple---sweet tea. Donna later escorted us to the waterside to photograph our visit for posterity.
From here, we Three Amigos expected to enjoy more days at the beach house. That evening we sat above the slip of water that would allow us to maneuver the resident canoe out into the waters of the Bay, if we so chose. As we watched a heron fishing patiently, we lazily considered whether we would canoe to the bay in the morning.
WHEN MORNING ARRIVED, a certain event at the house made that decision FOR us; a shocking sewage back-up had occurred in the night! The management company offered no replacement, but assured us we could sleep there and they would "fix the pipes by evening and clean up the mess in the house tomorrow."
For us, that was a far-from-acceptable option, and as a result, Beauty and the Beach lost all her appeal. Mary wryly renamed it Beauty and the Beast---beauty for the setting; beast for the house itself---and we quickly packed up and headed for home.

But we had packed a lot into our time together, and we'd also left some things undone. Superstition says that leaving at least one thing undone will draw you back again. And we pray that's true.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ROBBIN' THE ROBINS OF THEIR PEACE AND QUIET?....

In this protracted spring---or should we say protracted winter---and in these first warm, dry days when weather has finally allowed us to enjoy our front porch, we have adjourned to the outdoors for our morning coffee.

We have been greeted by persistent, raucous scolding from the mama robins... one of whom has built her nest under the north-side eave of the porch; and one of whom is nesting at the south side. Apparently we're invading their privacy and threatening their sense of security.

I've got news for you, Robins; we were here first! You are nesting in OUR nest, and not even contributing to the expense and maintenance.

We will drink our coffee quietly and try to keep our human sounds to a minimum. But we will NOT be banished from our favorite warm-season spot---the front porch!

We lift our coffee cups to you and salute your careful tending of your nest and nestlings.

BUT QUIT YER BELLY-ACHIN'!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

IS OUR PLANET STILL HERE?...

Today was billed as the day of the end of the world.
Then the projected time was changed.
Then---much like global warming zealots when they changed the term to "climate change"---the end-of-world prophets this morning changed their prophecy to "the BEGINNING of the end of the world."
That's a cover-all term. Just as climate has always changed and always will, any creature that is born has entered the long journey to an end.
In the meantime, I started my day outside in the gentle sunshine of the early morning... weeding, fertilizing, checking my plants... and sitting with my husband on the patio, enjoying birdsong and benevolent breezes.
I say the reports of the death of our earth have been grossly exaggerated.
And whether or not the planet is destined to end at some point, I intend to find any enjoyment I can in every day I exist in this world. Dark spots or not.

R.A.T. (Rose About Town) hopes your day is a good one.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

BREAKING THE SPACE BARRIERS...

We returned on Friday from two weeks of travel, and with the exception of the visit with a brother and sister-in-law, we spent our nights in places that boasted---yes, BOASTED!---of the large sizes of the beds in their rooms.
Bob and I have spent 50 years of marriage in a bed that apparently seems too small in the eyes of the modern world. He built this bed as a high-school shop-class project, making it out of prime cherry wood in a then-common size described as "full" or "double."
Over all these years, it's been just the right size for the two of us.
Today I sought out "Pieces of My Mind; Notes from an Old Wife"---a small book I wrote as a Christmas gift for my husband 20 years ago. The book contains my free-form poem that may not be a masterpiece in any way, but it perfectly describes how Bob and I still feel when it comes to the subject of bed size:


BREAKING THE SPACE BARRIERS...

We've spent the nights
of our long marriage
close together
in a nice old-style
double bed.

Never switched to Queen size;
never switched to King size;
cozy we've slept
in our double bed.

Over the years
our children have told us:
Try King size; try Queen size;
you'll never go back.

One night while we travelled,
we paid extra dollars
to get us a King size
in a first-class hotel.

All through the night,
we kept losing each other.

So now we agree:
If offered a King size
for the same price as "our size,"
we'll always take our size;
it's the best way to go.

We might even pay EXTRA
for LESS space between us!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

THE STRENGTH OF THE ALABAMA SPIRIT...

Over the years I have filled two thick notebooks from our April vacations in "Alabama the beautiful."

Yes, we have relaxed on their sugar-white sands. But we have also spent a great deal of time going into the communities and meeting and talking with the people.

What have we learned? Aside from the beauty of Alabama's waters and lands and skies, that state is well stocked with friendly people of strong and generous spirit.

Now on TV, after the tornadic storms, I am hearing news anchors and reporters speak of these people as if they and their land cannot recover; they speak as if the brunt of the recovery will depend on donations and federal government and all sorts of other outside help.

The news is missing something. I don't mean to diminish the depth of the disaster and the need for coordinated help from a government, which after all operates with money from its own citizens, including Alabamans... But these are people who have always rushed to help themselves and each other and even neighboring states. They have been and will continue to be sustained by their own strength of spirit and their innate sense of neighborly ethic.

I thought about that today as I read a Washington Post story---dateline Tuscaloosa, ALA. The writer quoted the words of a Matt Bell of DeKalb County, responding to a question about public assistance. Bell, who was helping neighbors look for documents and other items in the debris, shrugged and told the reporter:

"That's not really in the mind-set of people here. People here take care of each other; you see perfect strangers helping. We're not going to turn it (help) away, but if we need to set up tents, start a fire, fish and hunt, we'll do that..."

Bell then continued to focus on his work with others in a field that contained shredded remains of their homes. I could only think of the Alabama peoples' response to Hurricane Ivan. Months after the storm, before our usual spring visits, we made an unscheduled trip to that state to see how the people were faring. Amazingly well, we could see; their progress was astonishing.

Business groups, school groups, neighborhood groups, staffs of libraries and local museums... all had banded together in the clean-up; even including removing debris from a beautiful freshwater lake and nails from the beaches.

A perfect example of the Alabama attitude was reflected in what a Chamber of Commerce executive told me with pride:

"We returned to what was left of our homes and our businesses, and we were stunned... Then we looked up the highway and saw a great caravan of trucks and people and large equipment... electric workers, tree workers, excavators, trash haulers and more...
"We looked at each and said, 'If all these people are coming to help, we might as well get off our butts and roll up our sleeves and start helping ourselves... It was an immediate contagion; we all seemed to be saying the same... We were working together and moving ahead far faster than we would have thought possible; we put down our heads and worked!"


Wherever we went we could see the result; there were NO people sitting on lawns with signs on which had been written "Uncle Sam, when are you cleaning the debris from our yards?" Lord knows we had seen plenty of that in other places.

That's Alabama; that's the spirit of its people. I pray for them all in the struggle ahead, but I also have faith they will triumph and go on with their lives... faster than some would think possible.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I MISS THAT DOGGY IN THE WINDOW....

At a floor-to-ceiling window in my home library, there's a flat spot on the hardwood floor. It's the only space along that floor that doesn't shine.

The shine was worn away over the years by family dogs---first Lady and then Jack---who spent a lot of time lying at that window watching the world go by.

Every day in every season, we humans would sit and sip our coffee in that room, and a dog was always at that window near us. It was a comfort we enjoyed, the dog and its people; it's a comfort we haven't enjoyed since our "doberperson" Jack's death in 2009.

Sometimes my husband Bob will say to me, "We need to sand that section of the floor and restore the finish."

And I will always answer, "I don't want to do that. That flat spot is a memory, and I won't let it go."

So the flat spot will remain without its former shine. A souvenir of something special in our lives.

---Rose M., April 21, 20ll

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

APRIL HAS MORE THAN ONE FACE...

This very wintry April 2011 has seemed so permanent. Then I found this free-form poem in my journals, and it reminded that April isn't always what this year's has been. And so I share this poem with you to remind you, as it reminded me, that Spring always does arrive, however late. (R.Moore)

APRIL DAYS...

Snow this morning put a grizzled face on April

and I complained

some awful snowy day this is

some awful day

some awful snowy April day

And then I conjured in my mind

the magic of some different April days

some sweet-surprise-you April days

beaming sunny

warm and cheerful

April days

Sandwiched brilliant in between the

cloudy rainy

icy snowy

final-winter-tantrum

cold and gloomy

April days

Delightful days of April witchcraft

prancing in

on kindly breeze

and softening sun

blithe and charming

oh seductive

April days

Precious and more prized

than later days

of spring and summer

richer by rambunctious contrast

gladsome

bright and sunny

warm and sexy siren

April days

--rose moore April 3, 1994, written on a deep-snow Easter morning, preceded by a spectacular day of 70 degrees