Tag Archives: The Middle

In The Middle

It’s been ten years now since we moved from the east coast to The Middle. All but the last four and a half years were in the South Kansas City area and the current in a quaint town about an hour outside of KC.

I finally feel at home. The USA is vast, miles wise and cultural wise. I grew up on the east coastThe Jersey Shore – Bruce Springsteen Country – New York City influence. Then I found myself in Southern California, Dude! Then back to the east coast and beach living.

Now let me tell you about The Middle from a Jersey State of Mind. The people are amazing. They are so kind and friendly. They love home cooking and that suits me fine, well, except for the red barbecue sauce, no thank you. I can handle a little but I think they go too far. Being from New Jersey, when you are invited to a barbecue that is exactly what it is. The grills come out and the food goes on. Here…..well, it’s a bit different. Smokers are in and lots of red sauce. I do like smoked meats, I have to say that, and now I will move along.

Sarcasm is different, well it is just plain scarce. If you are born and raised in New Jersey then sarcasm is part of your DNA. I have learned to hold the tongue and move on, well most of the time. I recently watched a certain series on NETFLIX that made me melt and feel all warm and cozy. No, it wasn’t Heartland, it was one that I will not recommend. It was one that made me feel as if I went back to my childhood and the sarcasm was tossed around like piles of fall leaves in the hands of children. It was harsh and rough and I laughed out loud a lot!

Moving along. My husband gets speaking engagements at churches from time to time. They vary in their denominational ties. Yesterday we went to a small mid-western town a fairly short distance from our town. It was a gorgeous spring morning, the hills spotted with cattle and their new offspring. We are in beef country. We have been to this church before but this time it was different for me.

The service began with an elderly gentleman and his electric guitar. They had trouble working the overhead projector and microphone but chuckled their way through it. I was taken back in time. The old-time religion/pentecostal tunes came forth easily for him and the people. Not easy for me but I sat and joined in anyway. I thought of simpler times and Johnny Cash. It was beautiful.

The feeling of a child not knowing much but wanting to learn came over me. I realized that at my ripe age I really knew so little about life. I wanted to sit at the feet of these men and women and hear their stories. The stories of days gone by, of farming hardships and joys and losses and great successes. Of perspectives that are so different and holier than mine.

I just felt these people have watched many sunrises and sunsets on countless disappointments and countless times they rose again wearing garments radiant with hope. What a special place, The Heartland of America. A place where pioneers of yesteryear passed through or settled here perhaps because they just couldn’t go any further. A strong and steadfast people.

I like to think that I am made of some of this grit. After all, it’s been said of New Jersey that “only the strong survive” – I should know, I actually have the T-shirt.

If you haven’t traveled various parts of this country get out and do it. The various cultures in the USA are amazing and all have wonderful stories of their past and new beginnings. And food! Various kinds of food!

Enjoy!

Cate B

Another Glimpse of December

Here we are, almost into the middle of December and just now the weather has gotten cold. That’s ok. It makes winter even shorter, at least in my head.

Here are some images before the weather turned at Pertle Springs. Such blue skies and water.

Then we have the culprit that brought in the cold. A thunder storm in December! Brief, but successful.

 

Enjoy!

Cate B

Surprises

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

here’s looking’ at you

….. well, try it. You may just change a life that day or you may change.

Enjoy!

Cate B

Who Are you?

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….

Teddy Roosevelt

 

George Bailey after Penny June put party hat on his head

Enjoy!

Cate B

 

The Day I Met Ladd Drummond – aka Marlboro Man

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!

ME and Ladd Drummond - aka - Marlboro Man

.  ME and Ladd Drummond – aka – Marlboro Man

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.

Enjoy!

Cate B

 

Missouri Skies

We recently took a road trip to the east coast of the USA. We had a great time with family and friends. The weather was perfect. I breathed in salty air and stuck my toes in the ocean. Ahhhhh.

Well, on the way home to The Middle, Missouri to be precise, we came across these clouds to the north of us. I love to see the skies in the mid-west. They are much like the ocean I left behind. Always changing color and always leaving room for my vast imagination.

Enjoy!

cate b