Archive | August, 2011

Happy Birth-, I mean FIELDday, Dad!

30 Aug

Today is a very important day in our family.  One that should certainly not go unrecognized.   It’s a date that Stacy and I are expected to remember every year, and as the end of August draws near we receive countless reminders that the preparations are underway.  The anticipation is palpable.  And even though on the surface it would appear that this day is just about Dad, we must never forget that Mom’s role in making sure that everything comes off smoothly is crucial.

You see, today is Field Day.

Oh, yesterday also happened to be Dad’s 60th birthday.

But Field Day, that’s the big deal.

Unless your father also happens to be a Seed Corn Salesman or you’ve done an anthropological report about the major events in the lives of corn farmers you might be wondering what a Field Day is.  Well you’ve come to the wrong place for answers.

Neither Stacy nor I have ever been to a Field Day.  We don’t know exactly what the Big Hub Bub is about, but we do know that it is a Big Hub Bub.  And over the years we have been able to piece together what we assume is a fairly decent picture of the event.  This is what we do know about Field Day:

Erase all images of Three-Legged Races and Standing Long Jumps.
Field Day is not to be confused with Track and Field Day.  As Dad would say, “I don’t know where you’re from, but here in our parts we call that them there a Track Meet”  Okay, Dad would never say that.  He uses good grammar.

The food preparation for Field Day rivals only that of Christmas.
Approximately two weeks before Field Day Mom starts baking and cleaning like nobody’s business.  We get disjointed e-mails from her that read something like this:

Just look at that spread. Yuh-hum.

Field day . . . 11 days.
35 dozen monster cookies
pumpkin bars,
picnic bars
scotcheroos
potato salad
broccoli salad not done
must can tomatoes . . .

Our mother, who also uses good grammar, is reduced to nothing but a walking, baking, list of a woman.

The household preparation for Field Day rivals only that of nesting.
Last year as Mom and Dad were in the throes of Field Day prep I was nearly in the throes of labor.  With Twins.  While I didn’t have the physical ability to do much but point my finger and complain about the thirty-odd projects that I wanted done before the babies arrived, they were at their own house doing their own thirty-odd projects.  Re-siding the garage, power-washing the old shed, mowing the extremely large lawn,  weeding the garden, building picnic tables.  All I wanted was for the Christmas decorations to come down.

On Field Day my father serves Cowboy Beer.
Dad makes beer.  Good beer.  Delicious, substantial, manly beer.  On Field Day dad supplies his guests with their favorite drink.  Cowboy Beer.  A faintly flavored and tinted beverage that has no place in my parents refrigerator the other 364 days of the year.  And although I think he attempted a batch once, my Dad doesn’t waste his brewing talents to fill the red plastic cups for this event.

On Field Day a bunch of farmers and their wives eat a lot of brisket.
My parent’s serve absolutely delicious brisket on Field Day, and apparently the deliciousness of the meat is a key ingredient of the day. It is possibly the reason some customers choose to come.  We’ve heard tales of men sitting around for hours eating sandwich after sandwich of the tender, succulent beef.   And while there isn’t much to the preparation of the meat, the act of acquiring it is fairly complicated.  You see, the brisket comes from Sam’s Club.  Mom and Dad are not members of Sam’s Club.  That means, that in order to possess the meat that draws the crowd they must connect themselves to a Sam’s Club Shopper.  We are members, but Michigan is pretty far from Ainsworth in terms of meat transportation.  Omaha is closer, but Stacy is no longer on the Sam’s Club roles.  Instead she must enlist the assistance of her in-laws to help lasso the elusive cow our parents need.

There is a Field.
For years Field Day actually occurred in a field.   They would haul tables, and chairs, and roasters, and salads, and desserts, and beer, and anything else that they might possibly need out into the test plot (a field where they have planted a bunch of different varieties of corn close together.)  Several years ago they began using the my uncle’s field across the road from my parent’s house as the test plot and this allowed them to have Field Day in the comfort of their own garage.  They’ve never looked back.

Field Day has a purpose.
But we’re not completely confident we know what it is.  My best guess is that it’s sort of a cross between a Customer Appreciation Picnic and a Look What Great Results Our Hybrids Get Party.  I don’t know if people wander across the road to see the corn.  I assume so.  I do know that Dad put’s up a lot of signs, but you can read those from the driveway, so it’s hard to say.  I would venture to guess that the women and children probably stick close to the scotcheroos, but then again, I could be wrong, because . . .

We’ve never been to a Field Day even though our Parents seem to have forgotten this.
Field day is now such a monumental event for them that I suppose it’s difficult to remember that when we lived at home Dad didn’t sell seed corn. Pro-boxes, and pallets, and soy beans, and semis, and hybrids weren’t part of our everyday lives as children.  We try to keep up with these changes and someday I hope we can make a late August journey to Nebraska and experience what seems to be the culmination of their day to day life.

Until then I must be content with my own romanticized images of men in Pioneer caps holding a red cup of beer in one hand and the world’s yummiest pumpkin bar in the other sharing big belly laughs over old farmer stories while their wives kindly assist my mom in refilling the salad bowls.  Happy Field Day, Mom and Dad!

(Oh, and Dad,  Happy Belated Birthday!)

Advertisements

Prairie Bell(e)s are Ringing

29 Aug

As the school year begins I often get wee bit nostalgic. (Nothing overly sentimental, mind you, but thinking back’s kind of fun, right?) My sister and I are members of a wonderful minority: country school scholars. Yep, we got our educational beginnings in a good ol’ fashioned one room schoolhouse. To be fair, our school had 3 rooms (bathroom, coat room, classroom), but it wasn’t much larger than most middle class living rooms (those of you living in fairytale castles – picture your closet).  And every year at this time we were drooling with school year anticipation.

District 13. Prairie Belle School. Isn't that a sweet name for a school? It was ours.

Usually we would take a late summer pilgrimage to Norfolk (or sometimes Grand Island if we were feeling fancy) to go school shopping. Once laden with new jeans, tennis shoes, pencil boxes, and backpacks (if we were lucky) we patiently twiddled our thumbs until the first day of school. And, oh!, the wait was painful. There is almost nothing to this day that ignites nervous anticipation in my heart like the first day of school. Would I get to hang my coat on a high hook like the wiser students? How would Mrs. Hall arrange the desks? Would there be new contact paper on the class table? What games would be popular at recess? Would it be too hot to wear my new jeans? Would my schoolmates (all 3 to 6 of them) remember me? Had anyone gotten a new hairdo over the summer? What would my classroom job be? SO MANY QUESTIONS! And all would be answered in that one day. I might go so far as to say that the first day of school was the BEST day of school, but jumping to extremes leads me to abandon Halloween, Christmas pageant day, Field Trip day, and Valentine’s day. It’s a close race, folks.

The sleepless nights and elevated heart rates were all worth it on that first day. Armed with a fresh box of Kleenex (usually generic), a bag full of unmarred supplies, and a Care Bear lunch box (or was it Strawberry Shortcake? Smurfs? Christina, help me out here) we would trepidatiously enter that stucco learning fortress. Our school had a wonderful smell. The scents of bromegrass, cornfield, chalk, powdered tempura paint, construction paper, and mouse droppings combined to form a comforting olfactory cocktail that culled academic prowess from our pores. (Don’t question it.) As we slowly inhaled, gazed around our beloved building, and found our seats, we found ourselves – that crumble of a piece that had been missing all summer.

I’m saddened that these rural institutions are largely things of the past. I’m desperate for my own children to have the same experiences of school that were given to Christina and me and a few lucky others. But, as with so many things, their experiences will be different from mine – their memories just as sweet.

Thrilling Things I Love

26 Aug

Before I moved to Michigan I lived in north Texas.  I think everyone should live in Texas at least once.  It’s a great state.  But that is not actually the subject of this week’s Things I Love.  Maybe some other day.  Probably sometime in February, that’s certainly when I miss the Lone Star State the most.

But right now it’s 77-degrees.  The Michigan landscape is lush and gorgeous.  The Unsalted Beach is only 45 minutes away.  And my very favorite part of a Lake Effect Summer is just wrapping up.

You see, when I was getting ready to move up here a Texan who had once been a Michigander said, “Oh, Michigan – they have the best fruit.”  At the time I thought that was a really odd comment.  I was more accustomed to the “Oh, Michigan – hope you like snow,” and “Oh, Michigan – so, you’ll be working in the auto industry, now?” and “Oh, Minnesota – that’s the one with all the lakes.  What?  You said Michigan?  Well, they’re pretty much the same thing, right?”

But the fruit?  That was new.  And today I am happy to report that he was absolutely right:  We have the best fruit here!  In the interest of giving other fruits fair play (and possibly to save some topics for later) the title of today’s post is:

Things I Love:  Blueberries

Oh, blueberries, blueberries, blueberries!  This is my eleventh summer of blueberry bliss.  Starting the summer I first moved here I filled my fridge with pint after pint as soon as the stores put them on sale.  I bragged to my sister about their juiciness and sweetness.  I assured my mother that it wasn’t necessary to take out a loan just because I wanted to make my cereal look like the serving suggestion on the box.  It was Grand (Rapids.)

And then last summer we discovered the even greater secret of West Michigan – You Pick Blueberries.  Oh!  The only thing better than popping a handful of big, juicy berries in your mouth is doing so straight off the bush.

That is the chubby paw of a not-yet-two-year-old hard at work.

Blueberry picking is so easy that even young boys and twin-laden women can do it.  The purplish orbs fall right into your palm.  The only trick is making sure they land in the bucket and not the ground.  Even at the priciest orchards they’re a better deal than in the stores and this year we learned about something so great I hesitate to mention it here.

(Obligatory Hesitational Pause)

Okay, fine, you win:   There’s a blueberry patch that sells them for $0.40 a pound.  You read that right, no misplaced decimal points here.  But honestly, that’s not even the best part of the deal.  The real whipped cream on this this bowl of berries is the farmer who owns the place – Wayne.  What a dear, sweet, bachelor farmer.  Okay, so that bachelor part is pure conjecture, I just like the ring of it.

That's Farmer Wayne getting the empty bellied weight on Thomas.

The first time we picked he weighed the boys on his old-fashioned scale and then told them with a wink he would be weighing them after picking to charge them for all the berries they ate.  He picked the entire three hours with us, and at the end of the afternoon gave us his six pound bucket full.  His bushes are 66 years old, the newest vehicle he’s ever owned is a 1978, and summer is his favorite season because that’s when all his company comes.

Due to Wayne’s unbelievable generosity and my over-zealous need for fruit we picked 35 lbs. of blueberries over the last month or so.   Remember, that total is only the You Pick berries.  There were many little clamshells that followed me home from the store, as well.

I set a New Month’s Resolution to eat fresh blueberries on my cereal for breakfast every day in July and except for the one day when I had fresh raspberries instead, I kept it.

I still have about five pounds worth in the fridge.  Some of them are due to enter a pie later today, and then the final ones will join the other coated in sugar (because Cooks Illustrated said so) and lying patiently in the freezer for us to enjoy later.

So this winter when every ounce of me is longing for the warmth found deep in the heart of Texas I’ll just reach into the  heart of my deep freeze, which will likely be balmy compared to the outside, and pull out a reminder of the goodness of Michigan in the summer.

You should move here. Well, unless you already live here. Or Texas.

Maybe I’ll also bring Wayne some muffins.

Arrrrrrgh, Baby!

25 Aug

Something about this doesn't seem right, but I can't put my finger on it......

Why couldn’t I have gotten Skinny Genes instead?

22 Aug

We grew up with a chronic list maker.  For those of you who know our parents it’s quite evident that I am talking about our mom and not our dad.  I don’t think Dad has ever made or followed a list in his life.  Not intentionally, at least.

But Mom has lists for everything.  Everything.  And I can’t say that I blame her.  They are handy dandy little tools.  I don’t know how much they really help me accomplish, but they are fun, fun, fun to make.

And even though making lists is a very common, nearly trendy blog thing to do I want to be super clear that any list made on this blog is borne out of genetics – as if anyone would ever classify my actions as trendy.

1.  The boys have been begging to start school.  Simeon even picked a date – August 20.  Homeschooling is cool and flexible and all that, but I flatly refuse to start school on a Saturday.  No way.  No how.  And my plan all along has been to start on Aug. 30 when Jerry goes back to school.  But in order to take advantage of some of that pro-school momentum I caved and said we could start today.  I figured it would be kind of a soft start with the Grand Opening as scheduled next Tuesday.  Plus, it would give us a good chance to see how my proposed daily plan for the year was going to work.

2.  I quit school today.

3.  For the last five days Peter has been feverish, and/or rashy, and/or puking, and/or crying, and/or diarrheaing, and/or crabby.  Strike that last possible or.  It’s just an and.  He was diagnosed with a double ear infection and a probable mystery virus this afternoon.

4.  We’re trying to come up with some sort of system for the blog so you will know not only to expect a post on certain days, but also it’s general category.   Other than lots more of my sister, is there anything you would like to read more about?

5.  My OfficeMax gift card has not yet come.  I’m getting nervous.  Surely they didn’t just promise me the refund and then hang up the phone and say, “Ha!  We fooled you!”  No, they wouldn’t do that.  Right?  I am a total Nervous Nelly.

6.  I so, so, so want to enter in the MyGR6 competition, but can’t come up with anything clever and true and wonderful.  I do love this city, though.  Wait!  No.

7.  I’ve always wanted to do Baby Signs with my kids, but have never had the stick-to-it-iveness to carry through.  Cecilia has made one up on her own, though.  She claps when she wants to eat and when a meal is over.  My daughter.

8.  The boys are training for a marathon.  Okay, fine, it’s a kid’s marathon and they have two months to complete 25 miles, and then finish the final 1.2 miles of the actual Grand Rapids Marathon route on race day.   So far I think each of their miles has gotten subsequently slower.  My sons.

9.  The same genes that inspire list writing also create an internal need for the lists to have an odd numbers of items.  Well, that might be all my own special mutation.  My poor children.

Undocumented

19 Aug

Do you notice something missing?

I know there is a trend out there in the Blogosphere to do Wordless Wednesdays, but this one is more of a Pictureless Post.  The past eleven days of our lives run the risk of being completely forgotten. You see, my camera is shot.  It had taken it’s share of sidewalk close-ups in the past, but this last one pushed it right over the edge.  And thus, it entered it’s Magenta Period.

Alright, I know I implied earlier that there were no pictures to show in this post, but I have to let you get a little glimpse of the post-fall artistic stylings of our little Sony Cybershot.

Nice, eh?  Maybe the camera was just trying to send me some message about how I need to look at the world through rose colored glasses, but I wasn’t buying it.  In fact, all I wanted to buy was a new camera.

We’ve been through several point-and-shoots, and after the first one suffered it’s tragic demise in the purse-of-no-return my smart husband began purchasing the extended warranties on them.  We’re not typically “Warranty Folk” but since the pocket that these pocket-sized cameras often gets thrown into is torn, and I haven’t bothered to repair it in three years, it seems a little 24-month insurance policy might be a good idea.  Not to mention the danger these cameras encounter in stroller bins, van cup-holders, and worst of all – the hands of a five-year-old.

This last camera survived our rough and tumble life for two years.  Two years and eight days to be exact.  Yep, 24 months and EIGHT DAYS!  AGH!  So close, and yet 192 hours too far.  In one last-ditch effort we showed the camera to the nice people at the store when we went in to check out new models and do you know what they said?  “Call the 1-800 number.  I’m sure they’ll honor the warranty.”

I could scarcely believe my ears, and was still positive that the response from the help-line would be negative, but guess what?  They honored it.  Amazing.  They didn’t have to do that.  They were in no way obligated to reimburse us for a warranty that was expired.  But, a gift card in the amount that we paid for the camera is currently being sent our way.  And now, I must tell you the name of this store, for they deserve laud and attention for going above and beyond the call of duty in customer service:  OfficeMax.  Shop there.  We will.

So, do you have any great point-and-shoot recommendations?  Remember, they have to be available through OfficeMax.  I’ve done a bit of research, and have the Consumer Reports chart in hand,  but I can’t seem to make up my mind.  I want fast shutter response, image stabilization and good low-light quality photos.  So, do you have a camera that you love, or even hate for these reasons?

And until my gift card arrives, here’s one last photo to remind you why OfficeMax warranties have a permanent place in our life:

A Self-Portrait

Love’s a Mess.

18 Aug

I’ve decided to start a new segment. This is it: Things I Love. Okay, okay. I know. Cliche!!!! (an aside: I don’t know how to add an accent mark. Please ignore that typo and pronounce the word correctly anyway. Thanks. Also, if you know how to add the accent mark, I would certainly listen to your advice. Aside over.) I get it, but maybe you’d like to know a bit more about my sister and I? Maybe? Can we shovel out just a little more? You bet. And to highlight the mushy gushiness of this particular cliched (ignore the  typo) segment I’ve decided on the addition of sacchariny  pink as it’s banner color. Not that there is ANYTHING artificial about the following sweetness. It’s all real, I tell you, and I LOVE it.

Today’s Thing I Love is brought to you by my Olders (I have “Olders”, “Youngers”, “Bigs”, “Littles”, “Middles”, “Talls”, “Shorts”, “Sillies”, “Whinies”, and endless other classifications for my children. Sometimes they’re just “Brothers”. Sometimes they’re just “The Children”. And sometimes I actually refer to them by their Christian names. It’s a mood thing.) So, this morning those two (the Olders) straggled into my bedroom and heaved their sleep-limp bodies onto my bed. Nothing abnormal here. There they rested for a brief moment before Owen’s head catapulted skyward, “Hey, Joe. Do you want to surprise Mom and Dad?” (I think they thought I was sleeping. I pretty much was. Only my ears had awakened.) Then they shot out of our room faster than I could say “Wha…?”. At this point I was certain that they were going to surprise us by getting dressed, putting their jammies on over their clothes, and then pretending that they refuse to get dressed. We’ve fallen for that one on more than 6 occasions. Timeless humor, that. We went on with morning routine. I pretended that my Littlest still needed me so that I could remain immobile for awhile. My better (and more responsible) half prepared for the day. We were then invited out into the rest of our home. For what? Did we see shirt collars poking out of Batman Jams? Nope. Not even. Those boys were fully dressed. Their room was clean. The kitchen was clean. The hallway was clean. The living room was clean. ALL OF THEM CLEAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LOVE LOve loVe LovE LOVE love LLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOve.

Best surprise ever. I have assured them of this countless times and will continue to do so indefinitely.

I always love The Children. I rarely love the mess.

Grab Bag Full Circle

16 Aug

We are SO PROUD of you all. So proud. Beaming. In thanks for your plentiful, original, witty, mother-deprecating captions we give you this: The complete script of the theatrical classic “Lavender Blue”. Dilly dilly. Prepare yourselves to be awed by the skit’s seductive use of terms like “waffle weave” and “caftan”. No more will you have to wonder what to do with your own “roomy pouch” or “gay beach hat”. This sketch has it all. Now, might I suggest that you grab a handful of popcorn, your favorite carbonated beverage, and a hanky (to wipe the deluge of laughter induced tears from your pert cheeks), and allow the words to wash over you. Ladies and gentlemen(-man?)…….

……Lavender Blue – (fashions you wouldn’t be caught dead in)

(Suggested musical numbers to go along with the theme include “Lavender Blue”, “My Blue Heaven”, “Two Little Girls in Blue”. “The Blue Skirt Waltz” or “In the Blue of the Night”

NARRATOR: The fashion we are going to show are truly original and they are so exclusive you may be sure you’re never find them duplicated. But on one thing I’m sure you will agree after seeing them, they are within the reach of even your budget or mine. So on with the show!

(Narrator describes the costume, each model steps on stage and parades about in exaggerated model manner.)

Here we see Milady starting her day in a practical, casual duster, just the thin to get the day off to a good start. Note, too, her cuddly lamb’s wool slippers, perfect to wear as she trips her early morning fantastic. (wears short house-coat with dustpans and dust cloths fastened on it. Large powder puffs are fastened to a pair of old slippers.)

Our next model wears a charming housedress in a lovely pink checked pattern with comfortable cap sleeves and scooped neckline. No need to be embarrassed by an unexpected caller when you answer the door wearing this little number. (wears housedress with pink blank checks pinned on it – bottle caps are fastened to the sleeves and small plastic scoops outline the neckline.)

Milady models another daytime dress, so good for a luncheon with the “girls”. The dress is made of the popular waffle weave fabric and is accented with large silver buttons and matching Peter Pan collar and hat. (waffles are pinned to a plain dress with large silver colored scouring pads for buttons. The collar and hat are made from foil pie pans and another mesh scouring pad is the pompom on the hat.)

Every woman wants that perfect “go everywhere” smart little suit. Well, here it is in that new box jacket style. Note the skirt in the basket weave pattern, the large dangling earrings which match the big jacket buttons, the matching basket handbag, and the fashionable string gloves. (wears a large cardboard carton for a jacket. On a belt around her waist, berry baskets are suspended all around from strings of different lengths. The buttons and earrings are jar rubbers, lengths of string are fastened to the fingers of a pair of gloves.

Whether it is a wedding, or some other dress-up occasions, Milady will be perfectly gowned if she is wearing this lovely creation of tissue sheer in her favorite pastel color with a darling hat to match. Wish it she wears the smart T-strap shoes and carries a chic little envelope bag. (A plain dress is covered with cleansing tissue-any color- and a hat is fashioned from the same. Tea bags are fastened to the shoes and a small envelope is the handbag.

If Milady is sports minded  you will adore this darling skirt and shorts combination in the clever twin print, and isn’t her roomy pouch bag just right for carrying sunglasses, lotion and the dozen and one items that are so necessary for a gal to have along. If it is to a tennis court you are going, carry your tennis equipment in the matching tennis bag. (A Pair of shorts is covered with colored comic pages from newspaper and the top is made from the regular black and white pages. The pouch bag is a large brown paper bag and the tennis bag is a gunny sack or some other large bag.)

One last time....

Are you going to the beach? Then we offer you the perfect answer as to what to wear. Is it adequate cover-up, as well as sunburn protection that you wish? They you’ll love this over all bathing suit with the gay beach hat and bag of multicolor straw. Try it – you’ll like it! (wears man’s denim coveralls with “rope” necklace of clothesline rope to which snap clothespins are pinned. The large, floppy hat is made of brown wrapping paper to which multicolored drinking straws are attached in porcupine fashion. The same straws decorate a brown paper bag for the beach bag)

Eve would have been right at home  in this lovely evening sheath gown so elegant with the 18 carat gold trim embroidered fabric with its plunging neckline and side slit interest. With it she wears the elegant gold earrings and carried a sunning bag. (wears long dress or nightgown to which carrots are fastened with a string of carrots to the hip line and another plunger dangles in this slit. Copper scouring pads are fastened to other earrings to dangle to the shoulder, and a mesh drawstring vegetable bag is used for the handbag.

Finally, it is night time and time for Milady to relax at home in a casual caftan. What better to wear while relaxing at the fireplace than a caftan made from an eye-catching American Indian print? (wears a bright Indian blanket in wrap-around fashion. Might carry a huge “Dagwood sandwich” a magazine, books, hot water bottle, and alarm clock as if getting all set for an evening at home)

Let’s call our models all back in again and you can view the “Fashions You Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead In”

There you have it, folks. Too bad video recording devises had not yet been invented when my mom and her Lutheran Lady Friends brought this piece of art to life….

And one late entry . . .

15 Aug

Ainsworth is so small, that the plumber, fashion design, and grocers' unions all shared the same membership and meeting space.

Anyone else?

And the Winner is . . .

15 Aug

Just kidding.  We can’t pick favorites.   Plus, we have nothing to offer as a prize except a hardy round of applause, and even that might be virtual. (clap, clap, clap)  That didn’t seem too hardy.  What about this?  (CLAP!!!  CLAP!!!  CLAP!!!)  Still pretty lame.  So sorry.

But we did gain these impressive stats from this little exercise:  We have EIGHT readers!!!  We never hoped for so large a number.  Of course, one of them is our Mom, but she still counts, right?  Right, Mom??  Mom, are you still reading?  Oh, well – we have SEVEN readers!!!  This is very exciting.  Here are their entries in the great caption contest:

Mom plunges her way through another Halloween with a couple of her 'ghoul-friends'.

Oh, just wait until we pull some photos of our Halloween costumes.  I’ll give you this much as a teaser:  The Michelin Man.

________________________________________

Girls, we should be on the Paris Fashion runways!!! We be stylin’.

I’m fairly certain there is nowhere more geographically or ideologically distant from Paris fashion than our hometown.

________________________________________

Woman plunges GOLD from her ears and lives to tell about it!

As Dad always says, “If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, and earwax were made of gold . . .”

________________________________________

“The Three Plung-e-teers” – For a small fee, we’ll take care of all your plunging needs AND serve you a tasty home-cooked meal while wearing a smile and sporting the latest fashions.

I have no doubt that these three women did two of those things very well.

________________________________________

Look at what I pulled out of the toilet!

What toilet?  We had an outhouse.  A three-seater.  I’ll tell you about it sometime.

________________________________________

The Golden Girls...the early years...

Oddly, this is very, very close to the truth.

________________________________________

Just heading out to an LWML meeting.

And combined with this one you nearly have the whole story.

But I’ll get to that tomorrow.  For now, I’ll leave you with one last caption.  Guess who sent in this gem?

I needed to exercise censorship before I sent a box of photos home with my daughter

Mom?  Mom?  Are you still out there?  You still love us, right, Mom?

(crickets chirping)

Mom?