Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wistful Wednesday

Today's picture is of Joy, Jill and Cookie .... this was taken late 70s, early 80s at our place.  You can see the rolling prairie behind the girls and it was probably in July or August because the grass is dry and turning brown.

When I was growing up, one of my favorite books was "Cocoalo Comes to America," about a young boy and his donkey that came to America from a war-torn island in Italy or Greece.

We had the chance to get a young donkey from the Shriners club; they had a Donkey brigade that was in parades and I fell in love with the donkeys.  When Norm allowed us to get one, I named him Cocoalo.  He was very gentle with the girls. They would sit on him when he was laying down in the barnyard and he would follow them around, so they could ride him if someone led him.

He was fun, but he didn't work out - he became too pushy around me (but never the girls) and I had a hard time going into the barnyard when he was there.  He also would attack our Shetland Sheepdogs, especially the puppies we were raising (who didn't know enough to stay away from him).  He managed to break a puppy's leg, causing us to spend a a lot of money getting it set - and we couldn't sell the puppy for much because we couldn't promise he wouldn't have a life-time limp.  Cocoalo probably thought the pups were coyotes - because that's what donkeys do - protect their flocks from predictors.

So, even though we loved him (and he loved the girls), we had to sell him; a farmer needed a "watch-donkey" for his sheep, so he went to a good home.   But we had a good time with him while we had him.

Joy is holding Cocoalo, Jill is beside him and Cookie is the lucky one on his back

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Walnut Grove

Several of you know that Norm and I demonstrate at Walnut Grove every year.  This is at the annual Laura Ingalls Wilder event, held on the first, second and third weekend in July.  The pageant is held on Friday and Saturday nights and there is a celebration in the park on Saturdays.

Now, I have to admit that we have never been to the pageant.  On Friday nights, we are preparing to head to Walnut Grove on Saturday.  And on Saturday, we are usually too pooped to pop, much less go to the pageant.  But I have heard that it is really a great one and I am hoping someday to have the energy to go.

Walnut Grove is only about 30 minutes from us, so it's a great event to go to.  The people in charge put up an awning for us and take it down, so all we have to do is show up, put up our things, demonstrate (and hopefully sell) and tear down.  We usually go to Storden's Shady Drive-Inn for supper afterwards ... it's cool and I don't have to fix anything to eat.

This year has been extra hot and humid, like most places in the nation.  Our area is heading from a moderately-severe drought to a severe drought.  We had rain on Friday and Saturday -- a few drops each day - not even enough to make a puddle or keep the driveway wet for more than about 10 minutes.  However, it DID cool us off so that our threatened heat index of over 100º did NOT happen, and we were extremely grateful.  

Every year, since it's in July, we anticipate hot weather but anything over 90º is getting to be pretty intolerable to this little ol' lady's bones.  This Saturday, it kept getting hotter and muggier with less wind so that I was afraid it would get up in the 100s.  My drawers (oops, unmentionables) were clinging to my chemise (another unmentionable) and that was clinging to my petticoat (oops, again) which was twisting around my dress.  So when I sat down, I would have to re-stand and adjust EVERYTHING before re-sitting. 

But dill pickles, lots of water, yummy snow cones and a wet cloth under Norm's hat kept us going to the end of the day.

Weather aside, though, we had a great 3 Saturdays.  Norm sold spoons and spatulas and butter knives and possible pouches.  He has to make more before the events this fall.  I didn't sell anything but a bar of soap the last hour of the last day, but I DID sell my passion to several.  I have women and girls who are going to look into wheels and looms and teachers (most of them live too far for me to teach) and start spinning or weaving.

Going to Walnut Grove means making new friends and meeting old ones.  My new spinning student, Peg, came for awhile.  There is a blind woman who lives in Walnut Grove that stops, with her husband, every year; she is a weaver (not so much anymore, but she still weaves some) and we talk techniques - her fingers are so sensitive that she can "see" patterns on the runners and placemats I've made.  

Then there is "Laura" - Melanie Stringer portrays Laura and travels to events such as Walnut Grove to talk about Laura as a married woman.  Last year she fell in love with my Sontag (working woman's shawl); she had Joy knit her one and wore it this year.  It looks great on her!

Doesn't she look great?

This last Saturday, I met a photographer, David Rambow, who uses old-fashioned cameras to make great works of art.

He does tin type pictures; he took a picture of me - I had to hold still for about 12 seconds while he used the camera (at his left - our right) to capture the photograph.  The box behind him (with the material) is his dark box.  He brought the tin type over and let me watch while he poured the chemicals into the tray and the picture "came to life."  He promised me he'd send me a copy of it ... I hope he does (are you listening, David?).

So, now our events for the month are over - I need to repack the boxes, put away things and continue my planning for the trip to Europe.  It's getting closer!

It's been a hot day - as usual.  I think most of you have been hot today.  But it is a beautiful day, non-the-less.  You have a beautiful day tomorrow.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I now have the pictures that were on the Memory Board for the folks' anniversary.  They are in PhotoBucket, now, thanks to my friend John, who fixed my problems this morning.

I hope you enjoy them!

It's a beautiful day - not as hot or muggy as it has been!  You have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wistful Wednesday

Today I'm going to put up a picture that was on the memory board that Candy made (with my agreeing ... she was the brains).

We had a lot of pictures to chose from - some from the long-ago past and some from the here-and-now.  We did chose to put all pictures as gray-scale so they were uniform.  And made them as close to the same size as possible.

This picture is of my mother (in front, wearing pants ... shock!) and her entire family except her father.

 This was taken in 1936, when my mom was 16.  My grandfather had passed by then, so this IS the entire family!  Nana is in front, next to Uncle Hookey (Hugo) ---- love his boots and pants; he must have been riding.  Uncle Vernon is the only other boy.  The girls are (oh, help!) ...Clara, Mildred, Marvel Viola, Roberta, Grace Anna (Mom).  But I can't tell who they are.  I'm hoping that Candy can tell or Mom will tell me (when she gets home from her road trip).  I will update this as I find out.

Mom had a baby sister that died very young; mom is the youngest and is now the only remaining one in her family.

Love those smiles!

It's a beautiful day - you have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ninety Two Years!

My dad was born in 1920, which IS 92 years ago!  It’s hard to believe that he is that old! 
And what is he doing on this auspicious day?  Driving to Bowling Green, Kentucky!  He and Mom (also 92) are going to a National Camping group get-together that is being held this week.  They have been on the road since Sunday and will probably be home sometime next week.

And then, of course, he is taking Candy and I to Europe!

Now, I ask you, is this the normal speed of a normal 92 year old?  Dad refuses to be old!  He says he is not “old enough” to even go to an assisted living home; he and Mom still live in an apartment - we just got them out of their house about 4 years ago to an apartment with no yard work, no snow shoveling, no repairs.

Dad joined the Army when he was still in college; he wanted to fly, so transferred to the then Army-Air force which then changed the name to the Air Force.  Dad flew bombers in World War Two, flew the Berlin Airlift and was also in the Korean War.  He remained in the Air Force until he retired while we lived in Rapid City.  He and Mom have lived in Rapid City from 1959, when we first moved there, until now.

I guess it was fated that Dad became a pilot.  His brother, my Uncle Earl, was a designer for Boeing - the company that built many, many planes and jets.  When they were little, Uncle Earl built an “airplane” and Dad piloted it.  I understand that my grandmother nearly had a fit when she ran out and saw the wreck - it probably flew about 5 feet before it crashed!

Also, Dad said that when planes went over North Dakota (a rare happening), he would run out and shout “Airplane, Airplane, Rah, Rah, RAH!” .... had flying in his blood, I guess.  (I wish I would have gotten my pilot’s license when I was younger - I would have loved to be a pilot!)

Dad has also been a drummer since he was 8 years old.  He and Uncle Earl once were in a band together - then Dad went on to drum in many different bands.  He retired from drumming just a few years ago, and that was simply because the other members of his band became “too old” to play (and he was the oldest!).  Otherwise, he’d still be drumming in a band, somewhere!


Happy Birthday, Dad ... enjoy your day!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fasten your seat belts!

To mis-quote Bette Davis, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be an exciting ride!”  So, sit down, children - have I got exciting news for you!

I have waited to tell you this until after the Anniversary party.  Now that I am recovered (well, sort of), home and ready to look to the future, I am going to let you in on a little secret.

Several weeks before the party, Dad asked Candy and I to travel with him to ..... (are you ready?) ..... Europe!  Yes, everyone .... this little ol’ lady is heading to Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Holland, France, Belgium and other ports in Western Europe!

And I have a brand new passport!  My old one is almost 40 years old and could not be renewed.  

We leave Minneapolis on September 4th and will be gone for 10 days.  We fly out on Icelandair Air, land in Iceland for a few hours, then land in Amsterdam, where we will spend a day touring.  Then it’s by train on towards Frankfurt, Germany and a tour of several countries, coming back to Frankfurt to fly home on the 14th.

Now, it was just Father’s Day weekend when I told Jill and Eric that SOMEDAY I wanted to travel to England, Ireland or Germany; if I DID get to travel, what would I drink in the pubs?  The general consensus was that I could drink a fruity ale, a mead or perhaps a hard cider (I don’t like the taste of malt or hops, so beer is out).  So, the drink was decided .... IF I ever got to travel overseas. 

And, Lo! And Behold!  A few days later, Dad asked us to go.  Who woulda guessed?

So, now that the excitement of the party is over, we can start planning what we will take and what we will buy and how much we will pack for this exciting, once-in-a-lifetime trip.  I promise to take lots and lots and lots of pictures!  I hope that I will be able to send some to you from where we are on the trip.

So, less than 7 weeks to go!  It’s a beautiful day today; you have a beautiful day!

Friday, July 06, 2012


Anniversary SprayRoosevelt's announcementTables are readyFood is readyCard basket and guest bookBalloons on the walkway
Thrones for the king and queenMemory boardwith flowersSetting the board upWayne's working hardNorm is working at something
DecisionsBouquet from cousinsChocolate covered strawberriesYummyParty is startingPeople are coming
Friend RayFriend JosephineWayne with John and KimVern Shepherd of radio fameCandy's son John and cousin JakeWe gave Mom a diamond ring

Anniversary, a set on Flickr.

Here are the flickr pictures. Click on "Anniversary to see them all; click on the ones you want to see larger.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Fourth of July

Well, it was a busy weekend for us all.  The Fourth of July is also my parents’ anniversary, and this year was their seventieth (count them .... 70!!) ... quite a milestone, don’t you think?

Candy and I have been busy planning, buying, planning, planning for an open house that we held on Sunday in Rapid City.  Candy’s best friend, Nancy, helped from the Rapid City side as we did the planning from this side.

Then on Wednesday, Candy and I headed to Rapid City to finalize plans, get the party room (in the apartment building) ready and be with the folks.  On Saturday, Norm and Wayne headed over to help and be there for the party.

Candy and I slept at the folks until the boys came, then Norm and I stayed at his sister Eileen’s house (thanks, Eileen). We had the party on Sunday, like I mentioned and bunches (and bunches and BUNCHES) of people showed up. 

We had invited cousins to join us and three came, with their wives.  Jim and Jake from North Dakota, representing Mom’s side of the family; Roger and wife, representing Dad’s side of the family.  We (Candy and I) had managed to keep their coming a secret from the folks, so they were surprised when they showed up.

Sunday morning we sent the folks off to church and then finished decorating the party room and putting out the food.

Details of food?  Well, it was hard to figure out just what we were going to get for attendance, so we guestimated at about 100 - 150 for food.  We had punch (recipe following), coffee, mini-cupcakes, sliced summer sausage and crackers and home-made butter-cream mints.  My self-appointed job was to see that the tables were kept full.  We went through nearly everything - very little was left over after 3 hours of people coming through.

It was hot, outside and in - the crush of people was too much for the air conditioner and all of us felt pretty warm; not much coffee was drunk, but we went through nearly 7 gallons of punch!

Recipe for punch, created by Candy and I:

1 -  12 oz can of pulpless orange juice concentrate
1 -  12 oz can of pineapple concentrate
½ cup of sugar
8 cups of water
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cap-full of almond extract (cap from extract bottle)
2 caps-full of lemon juice (cap from ‘real lemon’ bottle)
2 liters of lemon-lime soda

It was very tasty - not too sweet and not too citrus-sie, even though it was all citrus. 

The total number of people who signed the guest book was (tah-dah!) 151!  We think we missed some, but this was a pretty close number.

After the open house, Mom wanted a dinner for the relatives and some of their closest friends.  We ended up with 27 for dinner, catered by a local restaurant.  Then the group helped clean up and relatives joined us at the apartment for visiting. 

It was a long day!  But it was worth it to have so many come out to honor the folks for their anniversary. 

The mayor of Rapid City had a proclamation that he brought, read and gave to the folks, announcing that Sunday, July 1st was “Chuck and Grace Childs Day” in Rapid City. 

A childhood friend of mine, David Drovdahl, is the son of Dad’s childhood / college friend.  He is also Speaker of the House for North Dakota (Mom and Dad’s birth state); he and Mayor Sam Kooike exchanged a few words about the rivalry of the two states.  David also made a speech about the fact that the folks were North Dakota born and raised.

Many people have asked why Mom and Dad got married on July Fourth.  They have said they didn’t realize it was the “Fourth.”  A speech that President Roosevelt gave talks about that very point.  He said:
    For 166 years this Fourth Day of July has been a symbol to the people of our country of the democratic freedom which our citizens claim as their precious birthright. On this grim anniversary its meaning has spread over the entire globe--focusing the attention of the world upon the modern freedoms for which all the United Nations are now engaged in deadly war.

    On the desert sands of Africa, along the thousands of miles of battle lines in Russia, in New Zealand and Australia, and the islands of the Pacific, in war-torn China and all over the seven seas, free men are fighting desperately--and dying--to preserve the liberties and the decencies of modern civilization. And in the overrun and occupied nations of the world, this day is filled with added significance, coming at a time when freedom and religion have been attacked and trampled upon by tyrannies unequaled in human history.

    Never since it first was created in Philadelphia, has this anniversary come in times so dangerous to everything for which it stands. We celebrate it this year, not in the fireworks of make-believe but in the death-dealing reality of tanks and planes and guns and ships. We celebrate it also by running without interruption the assembly lines which turn out these weapons to be shipped to all the embattled points of the globe. Not to waste one hour, not to stop one shot, not to hold back one blow--that is the way to mark our great national holiday in this year of 1942.

    To the weary, hungry, unequipped Army of the American Revolution, the Fourth of July was a tonic of hope and inspiration. So is it now. The tough, grim men who fight for freedom in this dark hour take heart in its message--the assurance of the right to liberty under God--for all peoples and races and groups and nations, everywhere in the world.

Norm and I spent some time with his sister, Eileen, and husband Joe, then went out to the ranch to spend time with his brother, Darrell, and wife Mavis.  Mavis is my “oldest” friend - we’ve been friends since I started going with Norm, 47 years ago.  It’s great to spend time and catch up with everything that has been going on in the family.  We then headed home on Tuesday, in the heat and humidity.  We arrived home and went to bed early!
While we were in Rapid, we watched the news closely, as there were 3 major fires in the Black Hills.  The smoke covered the area and we could not see the Black Hills from the spots we normally see them.  The sun was also affected by the smoke, as well.

Yesterday was the Fourth, as we all know.  Norm and I “celebrated” by taking it easy in the heat and recovering from the trip.  Norm went to the Farm to do chores, then spent most of the time inside.  We had a heat index of 108º and are grateful for the lovely air conditioning.  It is running right now, as our heat index today is 95º – they say that it is going to be cooler this weekend!

We celebrate the Fourth as our Independence Day; we celebrate by honoring those who have sacrificed for our freedom.  All my life I have celebrated the Fourth by remembering it was also my folks’ anniversary.  This time my sister, brother-in-law and husband celebrate a mile-stone of 70 years of married life for my folks.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

(PS ... I can't get PhotoBucket to work for a slide show and am struggling with Flikr .. I will have more photos when I get this organized.)