Saturday, March 26, 2016

Celebrating April

Amazing what things we celebrate in this day and age. This month we celebrate many unusual holidays such as: National Humor Month (that one cracks me up), International Guitar Month (time to tune the guitar), Keep American Beautiful Month (always a favorite), Lawn and Garden Month (set up because we are pulling weeds all month), National Poetry Month (try finding a word that rhymes with April), National Pecan Month (pie time), National Welding Month (for you Sparky), Records and Information Management Month (boring), National Stress Awareness Month (need that after celebrating all the days of April), Sexual Assault Awareness Month (worthy of recognition). Something for everyone.

On top of that, we have weekly celebrations:  Week 1 - Library Week (visit your library) and Read a Road Map Week (how about Fold a Road Map Week), Week 2 - Garden Week (more weed pulling), Week 3 - Organize Your Files Week (again, boring), Week 3 - Medical Labs Week (let's honor those people who are behind the scenes), Week 4 - Administrative Assistants Week (get those hard workers lunch and flowers) and National Karaoke Week (something to sing about).

You can go on to this website (http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/april.htm) and find absolutely something for everyone in April. If you happen to pass someone from the Advocate on April 4th, be aware that it is Hug a Newsman (woman) Day. In fact, I am sure that if you love to celebrate holidays and celebrate them all, you will be busy every day of the month....and poor at the end of it.

 On April 1st, I will celebrate International Tatting Day and my Aunt Welma Johnson. In my linen trunk, there are several pieces edged with tatting by her lovely hands. Tatting was thought to have begun in Italy in the 16th century. It made its way across Europe in the 18th Century. Women gathered to gossip and catch up on the local news while lace making. It was a delicate art that showed off their soft, lovely hands and beautiful rings. I remember watching Aunt Welma tat. A craft worth celebrating.

Whatever you celebrate this month, I wish you well. In fact, even though it is not quite April: Happy Day of Your Choice! I wish you many more.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Baskets of Easter Joy

Big, white cups sat on the table. I was given the task of dropping the tablets one in each cup. Mom topped it off with boiling water and vinegar. Ah, yes, Easter was on the way.

I was 2 years old when Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins wrote "Here Comes Peter Cottontail". These guys also wrote "Frosty the Snowman". Songs that were around throughout my childhood. Mom had the sheet music and would pound out the tunes on the piano. I learned the words probably as early as I learned to walk.

I am not so sure that I ever believed that a big, white rabbit came to our house on Easter. We had rabbits back in the hutches in the chicken yard, so the thought of one of those capable of opening the door to the house while carrying a basket of eggs seemed a little over the top; however, due to that scenario, it wasn't too far fetched that the rabbit had only to walk from the hutch to the chicken house to get his eggs. Hm. Food for thought for small children.

This was the one time of the year that I wore a hat. A cute little, white hat was perched atop my head with an elastic strap beneath my chin. I usually made it to church in the sweet hat only to ditch it once we arrived. When we closed the house back the lane, the little hat still sat upon the top shelf in the wardrobe. My sisters were notorious for setting me up for trouble. Of course, when you are seven and ten years younger, I guess your 'naiveness' is a great deal of fun for the older sibs. Instead of "Up from the grave He arose", I was taught "Up from the gravy He arose". I'm sure Mom popped someone up side the head on Easter morning. Sad thing was that I always sang as loud as possible.

I do not remember ever having a real Easter basket. No huge baskets filled with toys and candy, wrapped in cellophane. In fact, I cannot remember receiving any candy. Easter was not about that big, white rabbit coming through the door. It was the excitement of celebrating a Savior raised from the grave. As I have grown older, I even find that it is not about that rock rolled away. It is about that message of extreme sacrifice for love. A cloak I can put on that says love all people. A mantra to follow in giving all, including our lives, for the love of all humankind.

There is a funny thing that happens when you dye brown eggs. The colors are not always pure. You end up with different shades of red, blue, green, orange and yellow. They are different but still lovely in their uniqueness. Not so different from people. We come in all colors and from all different places. If we truly believe in that Man who walks with us still, we should do our best to see those colors beautifully blended.

"Bringing every girl and boy, baskets full of Easter joy". Let us pray that this Easter the love that was given is shown to all.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Spring forward

Confusion attacks our bodies with a time change. We are lured into a peaceful new beginning with warmer weather. We cheer at the first buds that pop out as soon as the warm sun heats the earth. Kids see the end of a new school year getting closer. Across the landscape baby lambs romp and dance around their moms. We start to think about opening windows and turning off the heat. Heavy blankets are cleaned and stored. An overwhelming urge comes to dig in the dirt. Yep. Spring is teasing us, and we welcome it with open arms.

Here in Oregon Springs peeks in around the third week in February. By most flowers blooming. Even the pear tree is eager to get the buds open. The twins and I take our walk around the yard to see what new plant is coming up. Nolan bends down wanting 'so badly to pick a new flower. I tell him no, but somehow it ends up in his little hand. A gift for MeMe. I just can't get angry at that. Even on rainy days they want to do our nature walk to find treasures, so we don our boots and have another adventure.

I was blessed to be raised in a family who embraced nature. Generations of our family had instilled this interest. A precious gift handed down. When my granddaughters were younger, our nature walks included a game. We looked for the alphabet in the growth around us. An A could be limbs that crossed. C could be the curl of a plant. Before long, we also found animal shapes in logs and limbs. A walk became an adventure and nature our teacher.

Little buds are popping up along the fence. The ground is covered with them. I am very excited since I know that trilliums are reaching for the sun. The bed will be bigger this year. Leaves hide that lovely white bloom. I know that Nolan will have his nose under there trying to sneak another gift for me.

"Mom, can you check out that stinking plant that came up last year? I don't think I killed it," James asked. Sure enough. That monstrous rare flower that the earlier owner planted refuses to give up its life. The stinking plant has a bloom larger than anything I've ever seen. It is called a corpse flower and smells as such.  I'm not sure if James thinks I can destroy this monster plant. I'm thinking it might eat one of the twins if I fail. Ah, what are mothers for.

Perhaps what I think of most is spring on the farm. The Loxley sisters beating the rugs with the beaters. We slapped them silly, or maybe we just became silly. Buckets of soapy water and a whole lot of woodwork to wash down. Blankets hanging on the line, and the sound of Dad's tractors in field as he cleaned out the sheds. Soon the tobacco bed steamer would work its way back the lane. The garden plot was plowed. It was a lovely time on the farm on Neff Road. A lovely time to be a Loxley girl.

I think perhaps I like spring best.