I am mostly a homebody. I enjoy staying home and doing projects – reading, writing, breathing fresh air in the yard with my doggies, bird watching, photography, and so on……
But I also know that to remain open to life I need to get out and about. So yesterday I met up with a friend at my favorite local cafe for lunch.
We were chatting away getting to know more about each other when the subject of carbs popped up. Yes, carbs. How many carbs is enough? How many carbs are needed? How many carbs do I want? The subject is vast and annoying and funny.
A young man was sitting at the table next to us and in the middle of the carbs talk he piped in with a whole-hearted agreement! We spent the next several minutes laughing and talking about that painful subject.
Then I needed to know more about him. I love people (until I need to turn myself off and go into homebody mode), so it was easy for me to ask about him.
Turns out he is on a walk across our beautiful country. Not for the usual reasons that pop up into our heads…… journey to find yourself; looking for the answers to life; wandering spirit….. you get my drift. He has a cause and a really good one.
So I don’t miscommunicate I want you to go to this website https://www.sevenmillionstrides.com and check him out. I think you will be refreshingly surprised and perhaps even donate to the cause. I also recommend following on FaceBook.
This one’s for you, Frank. We tend to think our small town is smaller than it is. We tend to think why would anyone pass through The Burg – or that is exactly what one does here… pass through.
We did that, thought we were passing through or staying temporarily and we got bit. Looks like we got infected with The Bug of The Burg. It’s a great place to live and meet people.
So Frank, my prayers on with you on your journey. Success is what I see in this for you in many ways. Success for the youth you are helping and success for YOU with the people you meet. Heart success. The non-monetary kind that goes deep into your soul.
Thank you for eavesdropping with Amy and I. We were the blessed ones.
It can get pretty hot here in The Middle. This summer is mildly hot compared to other summers in The Middle.
This summer is better for us since we had central air installed. I have to go outside to warm up. I’m not complaining.
This particular afternoon I realized I needed to water my tropical plants that I have on the front stoop for the summer. It makes them happy to be in very warm fresh air, but if I don’t water them daily the wind can blow them over, then they bleed.
So out I went into the intense heat. I had the hose pointed toward the grass to cool the water down before spraying the plants. As I turned to water the plants I heard a friendly female voice call out to me, “Excuse me”.
I turned, and a woman slightly older than me, was standing halfway up my driveway. This is unusual since very few human beings are outside in the mid-west heat.
I asked if I could help her, then I noticed her husband standing at the end of the driveway. My phone was inside and all I had as a weapon was the flimsy hose and moderate water pressure. I prayed.
She introduced herself and even shook my hand. Boy how suspicious I had become over the years. I shook her hand saying my first name only.
She jumped right into the reason they were there. Thirty-five years ago her husband, who now shook my hand and told me his name as I gripped my ninja hose even tighter, had been stationed at Whitman Air Force Base and they lived in the duplex across the street.
They both went on about their time there. I asked where they were from. “New Jersey”, she said, delightfully. I relaxed at that point. I mean, hello! I am from New Jersey.
Well, out came the Jersey accent like a knife through butter. We laughed together and tisked as we shook our heads over the lack of knowledge of true pizza and bagels and the proper way to pronounce cawfee.
What a delight. I just love those moments in life that sneak up and surprise you with such little things that can make your ordinary day look totally amazing.
Those things that come up on you like a butterfly caught in the wind that nearly bumps you in the head. Something you weren’t looking for or expecting.
The little things. It may sound mundane or so simple for some of you and you don’t get it. That’s OK. But for others it may wake you up and you begin to “see”.
I think so much goes on around us that are small or large events but most of the time we just don’t notice them. If we could just slow down long enough….the watering of a dry plant or taking the trash to the curb can be quite an experience.
I love to go and sit different places and watch what is going on around me. I can’t explain it ….. I just enjoy it. And when you take that one slight step closer to a situation and actually
….. well, try it. You may just change a life that day or you may change.
After posting Love is the Key on January 19th of this year, it still stands. I just love my dogs.
Maybe they have replaced caring for my granddaughters full time. LOL I do call Teddy Roosevelt (the pup) Penny June (the girl) from time to time. I have even called Penny Teddy, oops.
It must be the mothering thing. It just doesn’t go away as time goes by, it changes. I like that. After all, as we grow out of childhood into adulthood and the decades that entails, we don’t go away…..we change. We evolve. We grow.
We are still there – or here. I know for me, my whole life has grown and changed and evolved. Some of us “find ourselves” at a young age. Some never lost ourselves so therefore, didn’t have to find ourselves. Some of us, like me, did not grow up in an environment that knew myself. But I found me along the way and I love me.
Did you follow that paragraph? I hope so. The bible says to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. I’ve heard countless times that it refers to faith and spiritual things. I believe it goes deeper than that.
If you have five children you cannot raise all five the same way. You have five different people in your care and all five are individual personalities. I believe that as parents we need to purposely find out who each one is and help them along the way to see who they are and who they will become. Then they won’t have to go on that journey of discovering who they are. They won’t lose themselves in life and then have to find themselves.
Wow. That almost twisted my head. I had two cups of coffee this morning and then a noon latte.
So, back to my dogs….. Teddy Roosevelt is just about five months old now and has already outgrown his brother George Bailey. The games continue….
My last Christmas in New Jersey was momentous. My daughter-in-law and my youngest grandson took me to a Christmas Tree Farm. It was magical in so many ways. That day was cold and cloudy and the back drop of the farm was woods and wooden fences. They raised pigs there. We looked in on the full grown sows and made our way over to a small enclosed area that housed the piglets for everyone to see and take photos of and with.
Of course I stepped right in with my grandson and I grabbed a piglet and cuddled him and oooed and ahhhed in his precious face. He began to wiggle and then squeal so loud I had to put him down. What fun we had that day.
Now, eight years later, in The Middle, we decided to venture out with our youngest granddaughter to a Christmas Tree Farm in the town of Knob Noster, Missouri.
While the back drop was more open farmland with wooded areas here and there, it was still magical. We were accompanied by the melody of a mule braying. Off we went with a saw in my husbands hand and a metal cart for carrying the tree back to the car.
Well, these trees were pretty but they were the kind that are bush-like. What I mean by that is you cannot see any branches or trunk. Just thick green needles. I was taller than most of them. For the life of me I could not figure out how I was to hang lights and ornaments on the hobbit trees.
I am old fashioned and nostalgic when it comes to Christmas. I love trees that look like I made them. We hang ornaments of all kinds from the years we’ve been a family. A mixture of home-made to old memories to modern eclectic. It comforts me. These hobbit trees just wouldn’t work for me.
Now the magic…. there, in the very last row of hobbit trees, I see it! A six foot scraggly fir-type tree with trunk visible and branches sticking out in every direction. A tree that started out with great posture and then went left then right then up then over as if realizing there was a whole world out there to discover!
A tree with a kindred-spirit to me.
The saw came out, and as our granddaughter watched in wonder, down came the tree and we plopped her on the cart.
As we were pulling her back to the car the tears came. I missed my kids from the east and the times we spent together. Such good memories. And now the new memories with another little one. I smiled through my tears and narrated to our girl on the art of setting up a tree and decorating.
We belted Lu into her seat and unzipped the back window of The Jeep. Yes, I said Jeep. Wrangler. Soft top. Where does a jeep owner put a tree? I’ll tell you where…. trunk between the front seats and body next to granddaughter and top out the back window, that’s where! Off we went!
At home we sipped on Christmas Milk (aka Egg Nog – don’t tell Lu what the real name is or she will never drink it again) while we hung lights and ornamentsaccompanied by Christmas songs.
Here’s to new memories and journeys and traditions! Here’s to not staying stuck in the same old- same old but moving forward while cherishing the past memories that shape us into adventurers.
Those of you who watch The Food Network on Saturday mornings will know of Ree Drummond, also know as The Pioneer Woman. She is a down-home kind of gal who cooks for cowboys and ranchers and kids. Comfort food that we all love.
In her biography she talks of once being a vegetarian while sporting black high heels and her love for city life.
All changed when she met Ladd, the cowboy that won her heart.
I’m talking about them because when I moved to The Middle – being a Jersey Girl from the beach – I was a bit lost. A friend told me about The Pioneer Woman and how I reminded her of Ree and referred to me as The Other Pioneer Woman.
Well, I certainly felt like a pioneer. The cultural difference of New York City/Beach influence and Kansas City, Missouri was vast. The locals did not understand me. Sarcasm was lost here. Sigh.
But through the help of my son – who spent time in mainland China and Canada – he guided me through the culture shock. I found new normals and have since moved to a smaller country town that feels very much like home. You will be pleased to know I have toned down the sarcasm……well, I try. I gotta be me. 😉
So back to the Drummond Clan. My husband and I needed a weekend getaway. We planned a trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma – where the wind goes sweeping down the plain. This was my first time to the state of Oklahoma. Woody Guthrie and Arlo Guthrie songs played through my head the entire weekend.
Ree Drummond had just opened a Mercantile in the town of Pawhuska, Oklahoma on the 31st of October and I wanted to go. I use less butter and less sugar in her recipes but her line of kitchenware is right up my alley! Oh the colors! I’ve been slowly replacing my kitchen with her things over the past several months.
So, there we were in Tulsa. We met with a fellow blogger – Little Monk – and a friend who attends medical school there. But on Saturday we headed out of town on a very country road to Pawhuska.
I made myself have little expectations on this journey. That was difficult but I tried. But let me tell you, the drive through the Osage Nation Reservation was breathtaking. Such beautiful scenery.
Then we came into Pawhuska. A very small town. You see, the Drummonds had bought the old Merchantile building and refurbished it. Offices for the ranch and for Ree and all she does. Then, the Mercantile, Deli, Bakery, Coffee Bar and Shop.
The line for the Deli was too long so we went into the shop first. Oh. My. It was beautiful. I walked around and took it all in. Then I was going to walk around again and start throwing things in my basket……when what to my wondering eyes appeared???? The Marlboro Man himself. Ladd Drummond. The Mister Pioneer Woman!
I told myself prior to getting there and also at that moment to calm down! Don’t make a scene, which I am prone to do. So as he moseyed by me I leaned in and said, “Hello Mr Drummond”.
He stopped and said hello and asked how I was. Sigh. And I answered and walked away. There. I did it. No scene and an experience to remember.
Well, after I collected a few things in my basket, my husband and I went upstairs to the coffee bar and bakery. And there he was again. Ladies were having him sign things and have their pics taken with him.
I’m not one for autographs but I looked at my husband and said, “Get your camera ready!” A lady in front of me had me take her pic with him and then it was my turn!
He was so kind and I thanked him and went over to the coffee line. And there, behind the counter was their daughter, Paige, doing her new barista job. I asked her which she liked better, rustling cattle or this new job. Her face lit up when she told us this new job was better! And she makes great lattes.
I have to say that there was not a rude person to be found. I do believe that is mostly due to the fact that The Drummond Family are kind and positive people. You tend to attract people who are like you or who are attracted to your values.
On the street of this tiny town my husband and I sat down and reflected all that was before us. Here is a typical mid-west town with a lot of history. Buildings gone neglected like most of these little towns. But one person gets the vision to open a shop and change her community. And change it did and will. We noticed other neglected buildings were starting to be loved again.
A woman latched onto me as we walked out of a western store where we began admiring the saddles set out on the sidewalk. She began telling me of their artistic qualities and all the workmanship that went into them – as she gently stroked the leather and pointed out the details.
This lady was truly a Lady. She wore a long skirted western outfit and just purchased a pare of western boots that she insisted I look at. They were beautiful. As she talked and walked with me cultural walls melted. Her grace was amazing and it came out that she and her husband were ranchers from Texas and were there to sing songs in the street. This Jersey Girl was a bit awestruck. She truly was a Lady and chose to talk and walk with me.
Overall, we had a great weekend. Meeting up with old friends and getting to experience The Merchantile that I’ve read about in a blog for months will be unforgettable. And I will never forget the cowboy who graciously let me have my picture taken with him. Thank you Ladd Drummond.
And thank you Ree Drummond for following your dream.
Here are pics and some captions of our trip. I’m so sorry for the quality. iPhone 6.