Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thank God I'm a Country Girl

Well a simple kinda life never did me no harm
A raisin' me a family and a-workin' on the farm
My days are all filled with an easy country charm
Thank God I'm a country girl.

When Suzanne Prentice wrote these words and Dolly Parton sang them, I knew they were just for me. As I get older, I embrace those words more dearly. Country girl. There is no finer words that can be bestowed on those who understand the gift we were given being born into a rural family.

Yesterday a woman came into the store. She spent a long time looking at our cards designed by Marjolein Bastin. It is my favorite line of cards. Her nature art is so lovely. She captures those sights that we farm girls know well. The woman brought a one of these cards to the counter. "Do you know what that is?" she asked pointing a moth on the card.

"It is a cecropia moth," I answered.

"I have seen these at my house and didn't know what they were," she said.

We continued our conversation regarding the exotic moth. The conversation soon turned to the fact that we are both farm girls. Her roots in Oregon and mine in that other O state. We found an instant bond. Roots that go deep into the soil find others of their kind. Two farm women remembering when the city did not encroach onto farm land. We talked of the treasure in the soil beneath our feet.

I have been invited to go visit this woman and her husband. I will go. I will and sit in their yard enjoying time with an 'old' new friend. We have much in common, you know. All of us who have known life on the farm have a mutual bond. Perhaps we will be blessed with the sight of a cecropia moth. I've not seen one since I was a child and would very much like to see another once more.

Today I received a video clip from a friend in Ohio. I thank Joy for sending it. I know you will enjoy it as well:

Indeed, the simple life never did me no harm. I was raised in a family a-workin' on the farm. My days were truly filled with the simple country charm. Thank you, God. I'm a country girl.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

It is Time

Badgering. Bullying. Taunting, Teasing. Children. Adults. It's mix and match. It happens in all forms. It has been around forever. So why are we just aware of it now?

Our first awareness that has surfaced was with the children hurting one another with words and actions. Some resulting in suicide. Now we see that children are abusive to adults. Well, duh!! 

The commentator suggested to the counselor that perhaps this behavior began in the home. Perhaps?! Pretty good guess that it did. Ranting and raving in the house. Coarse words said in anger. Those words meant to degrade and to deflate. Words of sarcasm in a bitter tone fall on small ears and are passed on. We know where the anger begins and how it spreads. It is virus that has only one cure.

After watching this segment on the taunting of the bus monitor, I immediately thought of the types of video games that children and adults play. About those TV shows centered on bitter adults, hurting one another. It seems that more and more reality shows, based on families and adults talking about one another, those in which adults verbally abuse one another and make a mockery of such things as marriage and friendship, are topping the charts. What in the world is wrong with us that we accept this type of behavior? What is wrong with our society that we are complacent when it comes to our children? Why do we teach children that killing on a video screen to get points is fun? Why do we watch shows where women tear at one another, where gossip and cheating win? Why do we allow it to exist?

Shouldn't we be teaching our children conversational skills. Teaching them to embrace the positive and ignore the negative. Shouldn't we be showing them that words are better than the hand. That strength is more times found in walking away rather than standing ground. Violence begets violence. A child hurt by guilt, hurt by words, will act out. Children and adults scarred by gossip and taunting will only find anger instead.

Perhaps gossip seems harmless. I felt the sting of gossip. I felt the sting of friends hurting friends. We all have known what it is like to be hurt by another. Too often that hurt goes on turning into bitterness and more of the same. Where does it end?

It is a virus. It has only one cure. We are the cure. We are the ones who can change the face of humanity. We are the ones who can change the behavior of children. We are the ones who can change the behavior of adults.

The woman came into the store sobbing. I went to her and wrapped my arms around her asking what I could do to help her. She sobbed that she was going to her home to gather her belonging with a police escort. As with most abused woman, she still loved the man who beat her. She wanted a card to leave behind telling him that she loved him. We who have lived in healthy relationships find this hard to believe, but living in an abusive situation is part of that virus. A woman beaten down so far that she believed she deserved it. I told her that I would not sell her a card. I told her that his actions were not of a man who loved. I told her to walk out of the store, to gather her belongings and never look back. A few days ago, this woman returned. She did walk away with restraining order in hand. Now she is part of a support group and is in counseling. The virus stops here.

We all have a chance to make a difference. It doesn't need to be in such a big way, but it needs to happen. We must to learn to talk through differences and teach children the same. The days of the 'good ol boys' are over. The days of making fun of others are over. The days of brow beating children into behaving are over. It is time to stop this damage that affects us all. It is time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I'm Homesick

I'm homesick. I'm homesick for my sister. It was a year ago I went to stay with her for a month. I am homesick. I'm homesick for the farm and Neff Road. For those wonderful people who live there, for the places that hold my heart. I'm homesick for the rich soil, the mooing of the cows and the clucks of the chickens.

My high school class will be meeting up again this year. They meet on Sunday. I won't be there. I'm waiting for the twins to come. This year they take priority. Those friends will laugh and share old stories. Those of which I was a part. They will sit in the yard laughing and having a wonderful time. I am homesick.

The pull is strong on those of us who have moved away. I know this to be true because I have caught up with many of  these migrater on Facebook. First we befriend one another.

"Hi, Linda. This is Pam Loxley Drake. I don't know if you remember me. Ruth and Willard were my parents."

That's about all it takes and once again old acquaintances are chatting about the days on Neff Road. These roots are strong. They stay with us no matter how far away we travel. Once in awhile we return to the bosom of our birth. We hold tight to those days on the farm. They are part of our hearts.

I will be rocking babies this summer. This is a new generation who will learn about Neff Road. This will be a summer of great joy. Still.....

I am homesick. Can you tell?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Music Changes the Brain

Again, I am using the same post for both blogs because it pertains to both. Perhaps one day I will combine the two. Shall see.
Music: It's in your head, changing your brain by Elizabeth Landau

For all of us who embrace music and seem to hear the background music to our everyday lives, we already know that music makes a difference. This article is fascinating. From Alzheimers to a language for babies, music can change the world.
When we traveled, we sang.
I never knew a time without music. It was in our home, in the field, in the car when we traveled. It was in our church and in our activities. Never a day without music. I never paid much attention to this fact until I was an adult. The radio or stereo always played in our home.
Imperial Quartet
That old blond piano brought generations together back the lane on Neff Road. We sang around it at Christmas, and Mom was always standing someone up to sing next to it. I sang there with my children when they were toddlers. We sat on the piano bench together and sang children's songs. Music was just another part of the house like a piece of furniture.

I can't imagine my parents without music. My mother and her sisters played the piano. Mom played the banjo. Dad sang with the Imperial Quartet and for weddings and at churches. We grew up with the sound of music surrounding us from morning until night. Dad whistled as he crossed the lawn to the house. Mom could be heard singing in the kitchen. The beat of life was a musical strain that carried through the every day life on the farm.

My granddaughters and I have quite an array of musical instruments with which we create a cacophony of sound.  A xylophone, bongo drums, a lone drumstick, a melodica, a violin, a piano, a recorder are the instruments used in our trio of sound. We dance to music learning to not care about the steps but to embrace the feel of the sound.

My son met his wife on the national tour of the musical Evita. Music indeed changed his life. His home is filled with music. Already they have chosen music for the nursery. I read this article on CNN and found was pleased to know that what I have always believed is true. There is healing power to music. It can change a day. It can open doors to memories. It can sooth and excite and aid in learning. The brain is ready for our awareness of what music can bring to our lives.

I have find it interesting that hospitals and nursing homes are not full soothing music, especially in waiting rooms. I feel something is amiss when I am in a home where music is not heard. The silence bothers me. A piece of me seems to be missing, perhaps a piece I wish I could instill in someone life.
Music does change the brain. Or, maybe music is waiting in the brain.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father: an active verb

Please go to A Grandparent's Voice for my blog today at Thank you.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Box of Cards

I opened the box from my sister knowing that whatever it contained would fun. I couldn't wait until my birthday to open it. I was not disappointed for in the box were little treasures that over time she had gathered for me.

A fuzzy lamb was the first thing to greet me. A note fastened to the stuffed toy read "Pamper". Of course, Pamper was my pet lamb on that farm back that lane on Neff Road. My new grandbabies will play with this little lamb when they come to visit, and I will tell them about my sister June.

She also included a few other items that were so typically her. Our gifts to one another have turned from practical to fun. I was supposed to have my birthday and Christmas presents for the rest of my life when I received a leaded window from her a few weeks ago. She repairs old, broken windows preserving them for those of this generation to enjoy. This was indeed a box of surprises.

"Did you open the cards?" she asked when I thanked her for the box.

A few years ago June sent a 'birthday' deck of cards to me from Key West. The cards had pictures of sea shells on them. My granddaughter Gabby loved to match the cards with the shells in my basket of shells collected on our Oregon beaches. With this new deck of cards, June had given me another opportunity to share nature with my grandchildren in this deck of wildflowers. I pulled the cards out of the little box. A business card fell out with them. She had indeed given me a wonderful gift. My deck of cards were from The Apple Barn on State Route 571.

"I thought you would like them," she said. Indeed I love them. Another trip home came in a little box from Angola, Indiana.

Ah, I love birthdays.

Monday, June 11, 2012

She Knew the Waves

When I was in high school, the bubble hairstyle was popular. We used big rollers to roll the hair then dried our hair under hairdryers with a plastic hood that fit over the rollers. After the hair was dry, it was then teased. Now my grandchildren would probably think that was some sort of bullying of ones hair, but, no, it just meant that we made a nest in the hair beneath the smoothed bubble of hair over the top.

The page boy was popular when my sisters were in college. It is thought that the hairstyle is named after the English page boy.

Mother wrote in her journal that she was excellent at making finger waves which were popular back in the 1930's. Girls would come to her for hairstyling. She would make finger waves in their hair for special occasions. In fact, Mom said that she was even asked to work at the local beauty parlor, because her waves were not only perfect but lasted. By the looks of my mother's hair and that of my Aunt Welma, I'd say her finger waves were very attractive and even a bit flirty.
Aunt Welma and Uncle Bob

My granddaughters are oblivious to The Bob. Page Boys and Bubbles are from the good old days. Perms are only given to those in their later years. Only our generation will remember hooded hair dryers, plastic rollers and Spoolies (little rubber spools that the hair was wound around).  Despite all the years we tried to have smooth hair, it has disappeared with the advent of spiked hair. Where once we wanted all ends of our hair to be even, ends are now cut at angles or unevenly. When I was young, everyone wanted to be blond. Now hair is streaked with red, blue and purple.

Perhaps hair is in truth just a statement of each generation. A tress evolution that continually pushes the envelope. I'm curious to see what it will be like when the newborn twins become teenagers.

It's a hairy subject.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Raised in Paradise

"What do mean you like cracklin's," my friend said. "They are just pig fat."

"Yep," I answered.

"Aren't you afraid to eat morel mushrooms?" asked another.

"Nope," I answered.

"You really ate beef heart and tongue," yet another friend said with her nose wrinkled.

"Uh huh," I replied.

"I never heard of shoe fly pie," was yet another comment.

"Then you don't know what you have missed," I said.

How can I ever explain to my non-farm friends what it was like to live in paradise. Food that melted in your mouth. Unusual foods that we ate as well as the fresh food that graced our table daily.

We ate dandelion greens and chewed on oats straight from the field. We ate eggs still warm from the nest and beef fattened on corn. We were the culinary benefactors of all of the generations of cooks before our parents. Foods that carried over from when women cooked mush on the old cast iron cook stove.

I love watching my friends' faces when they ask about the farm. It seems to be a world away from what they know and understand. They just don't understand what it is to be raised in paradise.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Just Another Day on the Farm

Chicken feathers and part of a chicken laid in the chicken yard.

"The raccoon did it," said the skunk.

"The owl did it!" cried the fox.

"Wasn't it the dogs?" asked the cat.

"Possum did it, I'm sure," said the raccoon.

"No, no, no. skunk did it!," insisted the ground hog.

"Willard, where are you going?" said my mother watching my father had rifle hand.

"Some varmint got into the chickens!!" Dad said.

Hm. A not so unusual day on the farm. (Except for the talking animals.)