Memories came to visit

November 2, 2013

About two weeks ago we got a call from Phil who had been one of Hubby’s classmates in the police management institute at Northwestern University in 1980/81.


Hubby is on the left, Phil in the middle (obviously in a t-shirt given to him by one of his other classmates!) and their friend Tommy is on the right.

Phil is from New Zealand and retired a few years ago as the number two official in New Zealand’s national police department.

He and his wife Jackie were in the States for a month-long visit and had tracked us down (with the help of Tommy) so wondered if they could “stop by” to see us.  What an exciting opportunity for both of us!  We had never met Jackie since they had married “only” 21 years ago, but we had fond memories of Phil and his sons when they had come to visit us after graduation and before they returned to New Zealand

Image Phil at our house during his visit.

Image  Graham, DD, Nigel and Gunny.

So when Phil and Jackie got here a few days ago, we looked forward to meeting Jackie and renewing our friendship with Phil.

They could only stay a day, so we decided to eat our meals out so that all of our time could be spent visiting, and I have to say we crammed alot of that into a very short time.

Here is where I wish I was as photo-opportunity ready as I used to be because for lunch shortly after they arrived, we took them to a local Italian restaurant that is what we call “a hole in a wall” — a very unimpressive store front in the complex with a truck stop.  But we knew where the food was anything but common.  They loved it, of course.  Then we took a drive out into Amish country, because Phil wanted Jackie to see some of the sights he had seen when he was here before.  We went to the Amish store and the Grabill hardware, but of which they found fascinating, but the best part was that the Amish clerk at the store told us that her two brothers were plowing with horses not too far away (we had told her they were visitors from New Zealand, so I guess she understood they would enjoy seeing that).  We followed her instructions and found two teams of horses pulling plows in a field.  There were eight horses pulling each plow.  They weren’t harnessed straight across but with four following four.  Very impressive and oh how I wished for a camera right then.  But Phil did get a picture with his phone, so they will have something to show back home.

That was really the only sightseeing we took them on, the rest of their short visit was pretty much taken up with eating and talking!


Image  That night we took them to our favorite Chinese restaurant.

Of course, even in so short a time, Jim and Phil HAD to go to the range to shoot.  So we just ate toast for breakfast and they took off for there.


Jackie was such a nice surprise for me.  I don’t know what I expected, but when she left I told Hubby that I wished she could be my next door neighbor.  We got along great.

ImageJackie is a librarian by profession, so while the guys were shooting, we went to a bargain book store and browsed and bought some books for a dollar or less!  A treat for us both.  And we even met an “interesting” woman who was also shopping there who wanted to become “best friends” I guess because we were looking at books too!  After she had just “bent our ear” for a couple minutes, I suddenly noticed that Jackie had casually wandered (or maybe with intent!) and I was left listening to “gabby” — and you KNOW if I think someone talks too much, they really do!

I finally peeled myself away for my new “best friend”, and went and found Jackie wayyy at the other end of the store, enjoying looking at cookbooks.  Who knew she was a little sneaky like that!  That’s when I realized, Jackie would be a great friend to spend time with regularly.

After eating lunch at our favorite Greeks restaurant (yes, in just 24 hours, we had taken them to Italian, Chinese and Greek restaurants.  If they would have just stayed another day, I’m sure we would have gotten them to an American restaurant too!

What a great short visit.  We had the opportunity to re-live some great old memories with Phil, hear lots of interesting things they have done (they are sailors and spent six years sailing around the world — staying a month here and a month there and even flying home once when the weather where they were keep them from sailing for a few months) and making some nice new memories together.



Note to readers:  Now I remember one of the reasons I stopped posting on my blog.  I edited this post just to my liking, but I have worked for an hour for it to accept that new version.  Not happening.  So in frustration I’ve gone ahead and posted the first draft, which is really rough, but it’s apparently my only option!!

Happy Saturday!


Help Wanted

April 27, 2013


Hubby has many talents, but one of the handiest of those is his ability to judge whether a left-over will fit into the refrigerator container I have picked.  Our routine is that after we eat and he is still sitting at the table, I will start cleaning up, including putting leftovers in the fridge.  Sometimes (many times, actually) when I look for a container to use, it is very hard for me to judge whether it will fit or not.  So I will ask Hubby whether it will fit and he is right 99% of the time.   What a handy talent!  And, of course, it means he has no trouble at all picking the container, if he is the one cleaning up.

I have never thought of this trait of Hubby’s as “marketable”, but after receiving an order from a national store chain the other day, I think he could have a second career in their shipping department.

This box arrived yesterday.


I knew what I had ordered, but I could not believe it was in this huge box.


When I opened it, it was packed full with brown paper packaging.

And when I removed all the packing…


… the items I had ordered were in the bottom.


Six placemats.

I couldn’t find anything on the package that said how much the company paid for shipping (it was free shipping for me), but I have to believe that there is some waste, both in postage and man hours, because of this overkill in packaging.

I hope their shipping department pays big bucks, because I’m sending them Hubby’s resume today!

A ticklish situation

February 18, 2012

School was new to him.  His school didn’t have a kindergarten so he was having his first school experience in first grade.  So far he was enjoying it, especially the recesses where he had the opportunity to play with lots of new friends.

That was many years ago but he does still have a couple of vivid memories from that time.

Like his first experience with store-bought milk.  He lived on a farm where they had dairy cows, so fresh milk was what they drank.  He remembers that the first time he drank the homogenized milk at school, it was so different from what he was used to that he threw up.  But he soon got used to it, and found out that he really enjoyed the lunches at school.  Thus began a long tradition of him making friends with the ladies who did the cooking in the cafeteria. They liked him because he was a good little eater (and I assume just a likable little boy) and he liked them, well, because they made him lunch every day!

His other memory is one in the classroom.  They were having a play time in their classroom when the teacher stepped out the door a minute.

He and some others decided to play hide-and-seek.  The kid who was “it” had already started counting so he quickly looked around for somewhere to hide. There was a cubby hole that he could climb into … perfect.  He crawled as far back as he could into the cubby hole and sat perfectly still in hopes “it” wouldn’t find him.

But suddenly everything changed when the teacher walked back into the room! She told everyone to return to their seats and she walked to her desk and sat down.

OH-OH!  He was trapped in the cubby hole of the teacher’s desk!  And then she kicked off her shoes!  Well, he was just a little kid and even though it had surprised him to get trapped under there, he wasn’t so worried that he could resist what came naturally to a fun-loving little boy — he gently tickled the bottom of one of her stockinged feet.

Well, that got a response!! The teacher shrieked and jumped up!  Then she looked under her desk, fully expecting to see a mouse but just saw a sheepish little boy, who wasn’t sure what to do next.

As soon as the teacher realized what had happened, she laughed out loud so, of course, the whole class laughed too.  And the little “tickler” was just relieved he wasn’t in trouble.

In case you haven’t guessed, the little boy was Hubby, and I’ve repeated this tickling story many times because I think it is so cute.  But what made me think about it recently was when a story was on the national news about a first grader who was suspended from school because he told his teacher she was cute!  That makes me sad and to long for the days when little boys weren’t punished for doing innocent things that come naturally to little boys.

My Hero

September 29, 2011

Our huge recycle bin was collected yesterday, so it just has a few things in its bottom now.  And this morning while putting glass containers in the dishwasher that I had used yesterday while baking (with a failing oven — a whole other post!), I realized I had accidentally thrown the lid to a glass jar that I was going to save for a specific purpose into the recycle bin in the garage.

When I realized what I’d done, I went out there and tried to reach it, but my arm wasn’t nearly long enough.  So when Hubby came into the kitchen still sleepy-eyed and just interested in his first cup of coffee, I told him my dilemma and that I was hoping he could reach the lid.

So, after Hubby ate his breakfast, he went out to the garage to retrieve something that I’m sure he was wondering why it was so valuable to me.  When he hadn’t returned in a few minutes, I went out to see how he was doing.  There he stood, seconds from success, using a very long pair of needle-nose pliers and a golf club from his near-by bag to accomplish his mission.  Wonderful!

I asked him what the golf club was for and he said he stood the lid on end with it, so that he could get ahold of it with the pliers.  Very creative thinking.

I am thankful for a husband who will do all he can to achieve a goal that is much more important to me than him!  Just one of the many reasons he is my hero.

Calling his bluff!

August 9, 2011

Recently when the kids and grandkids were here I cooked alot on the first day, so when Hubby and I got up on the second day, we had the following conversation:

Me:  “I have bad news:  The cook is tired of cooking.  We will either have to eat leftovers today or eat out.”

Hubby:  “Maybe I will just have to fire the cook!”

Me:  “Well, before you do that, I should warn you that she and the laundress are really close.  If you fire one, I’m pretty sure they will both leave.”

Hubby:  “Okay then.  Where you do want to go out to eat?”

The man knows when he’s on thin ice.  He could survive for a while without a cook, but as soon as I got home from Rehab, he “forgot” how to do laundry again, so he definitely doesn’t want to lose the laundress.  And, besides, they both make him laugh and tell him which colors go together.  He’d better keep them both around.

My Fathers’ Day

June 19, 2011

My dad has been gone for over 20 years, but I still have great memories of him.  When I was very little I can remember him standing in a doorway and bracing his arm against one side of the door sill so that I could swing on his arm.  I remember his arm felt like wood, it was so solid.  I remember us walking uptown for malts. And I remember being awed when he and I would lay in the hammock and look at the stars with him pointing out the different ones to me — they looked so close!  I didn’t know about good dads or bad dads he was just my dad.  But now I know how fortunate I was that I had a dad who loved his family and worked hard to give us the very best life possible.  I look forward to seeing him in Heaven so that I can thank him for being such a good dad.

Hubby is celebrating two holidays today — Father’s Day and our anniversary.  So it gives me a chance to thank him for being a great husband for 46 years, but also a great father to our children.  Thank you love of my life, I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my life or raise my children with anyone else.

My Heavenly Father needs to be especially praised on Father’s Day too.  He gave fathers an example of good parenting — love them unconditionally but let them suffer the consequences of their actions.  I am so thankful that, as much as we love each other here on Earth, He loves each of us even more.

On this Father’s Day I am thankful for the three fathers who have blessed my life.

A Calming Memory

May 19, 2011

For many years as the boy stood at the end of the lane with his siblings waiting for the school bus, there was a man their parents knew named Irv who would drive by on his way to work in his vintage Model T Ford.  Because the boy had a fascination with cars he always watched for Irv and his cool car.

Years later when the boy was grown and now a policeman he was called to a disturbance at a home.  When he arrived, an elderly man was laying on the floor in a fetal position alternately sobbing and yelling belligerently.  The man’s adult daughter was standing near-by, crying.

When the officer asked what was going on, the woman explained that she and her husband could no longer take care of her father because his dementia was getting worse.  But when they told him an elder care home now had room for him and they would be taking him there that evening, he had immediately become  uncontrollable.

The officer approached the man on the floor, trying to think what he could do to help the situation.  But when he got down close to the man he realized who he was … it was Irv, the man he remembered from his childhood who owned the Model T Ford he had so admired.  He called the man by name and told him he was Art’s son.  And then he began to tell Irv his memories of his early morning waves to Irv in his great antique car.  Irv immediately quieted as he listened to the young officer’s memories of the old car he had restored himself and so enjoyed driving for years.

After a few minutes of reminiscing, the officer helped Irv to his daughter’s car and then left, sad to see a man from his past in such poor health, but glad that the memories he had shared with Irv had helped calm him.

Hubby was a police officer for 36 years so I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that he can still occasionally tell me a story from that time that I have never heard before.  He told me this story a couple days ago when something jogged his memory.