SoCS – Success or Failure

Day 328

Linda gives us a to hyphenate or not to hyphenate challenge today. The prompt is simple:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “co-” Find a word that uses “co” as a prefix and use it in your post. Have fun!

Some people start out slowly.

Then maybe they co-mingle.

And move on to co-habitate.

And maybe they co-create and bring children into the world.

Sadly often the end result is simply co-existing

Until all the co’s are gone.

Except co-parenting which can be the hardest co of all.

If you are curious and want to practice writing stream-of–consciousness style, why not click over to Linda Hill’s blog and check out all the rules. I highly recommend you take the time to read what other participants have written. It is one of the highlights of my Saturdays. Then give it a shot!

Blog, community

Quiet Changes

Day 327, an addendum

Artist: Kate Greenaway (1846–1901) Engraver:

Edmund Evans (1826–1905)   Alternative names Edmund William Evans Description English engraver and printer Date of birth/death 23 February 1826 21 August 1905 Location of birth/death London Isle of Wight Work location London Authority control : Q4529602 VIAF: 71519059 ISNI: 0000 0000 8392 8947 ULAN: 500023437 LCCN: n81059993 NLA: 35071074 WorldCat creator QS:P170,Q4529602, Pied Piper2, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons

Today I noticed I quietly reached 300 blog followers. There was no fanfare or any false notion on my part that I truly have 300 followers. I can see by likes and comments and statistics how many people really read what I write.

Some followers are trying to up the ante on their own website’s ranking. Some people are trying to sell products or real estate or any other number of thing I am not in the market for. I follow people who write from their heart and have something to share. I read more than I like and comment, though. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I disagree but I never feel the need to try to argue someone else’s opinion or win them over to my way of thinking.

A long ago I took a statistics class. I still remember the first lesson in the class.

Figures don’t lie but liars can figure.

To those who truly follow and read and like and comment — I thank you. We are nothing without each other.

Blog, father, Fear, growing up country, rainy day

Storm Memories

Day 327

Yesterday we drove through a few ugly storm cells. Then when the storm moved, the dark clouds continued to linger above the highway. Seeing the clouds reminded me of my years growing up in the little valley we called home.

Growing up there gave us a lot of freedom. I had very little fear. I was not necessarily fearful of poisonous snakes, but I was aware and taught how to protect myself from them. Most every house could be found with the front doors open with a screen door to allow the mountain breezes to move through and provide a much appreciated breeze. I remember being afraid when my father went out as part of the volunteer fire crew to fight forest fires. And once or twice, we would hear of someone breaking into an isolated cabin ‘up on the mountain’ but it was a rare occurrence.

Weather was no different. We had plenty of thunderstorms with lightening, but I never feared the thunder or the lightening. We knew how to determine the distance of a storm by counting the number of seconds between seeing lightening and hearing a clap of thunder. All of the older two story houses were equipped with lightening rods with decorative glass balls on two ends of the roof structure. The lightening rods are connected to a grounding rod buried in the ground. The glass balls served a purpose as well. The theory was that if the rod was struck by lightening, the glass ball would shatter letting the owner know it was time to check for potential damage.

While we had thunderstorms, more often than not, we had rainstorms. Just saturating downpours which nourished the gardens and fed the creeks. This was the non-destructive rain that everyone hoped for.

Our home was nestled in a valley surrounded by four mountain peaks. If you were attentive you could see sheets of rain move across the mountains toward our little valley. As kids, we swam in the creek. We had three ‘swimming holes’ but the most popular was the one we referred to as The Millpond.

During the summer we spent most of our time swimming and sitting on a towel spread along the rocky creek bank. This is where almost everyone learned to swim, me included. I remember the older teenagers applying a combination of baby oil and iodine on their bodies in an attempt to get a tan. Yikes!

When we could see rain clouds and the leaves turn upside down, everyone headed home. The Millpond was in the holler which meant the trip to our house was along the road, across the bridge and on home in a u-shaped path. The closer the sheets of rain were, the faster we moved until we were in a full run. This became what we referred to as trying to outrun the rain. We seldom made it home without getting drenched in the cold summer rain. Such a great memory.

Later in life, I went home to visit. In this valley, almost everyone walked everywhere. I was alone, visiting before going to a training class in D.C. for my job. I started out on a walk one afternoon. As I stepped off of my father’s porch, he said “It looks like it might rain.” I nodded and continued on my way. I missed that freedom and wanted to take advantage of walking while I had the chance.

I was about 30 minutes into my walk when the rain came up behind me. First, a few heavy drops, widely separated. Then more drops until a solid sheet of rain was upon me. I was soaked. Then, I did as I had often done as a child, I stepped onto the covered porch of a house no longer occupied to wait out the rain.

Within minutes, I saw my father’s car driving down the road. He saw me on the porch, pulled up and motioned for me to come to the car. As he had tried to do so many times in my life, he came to my rescue.

Such a bittersweet but beautiful memory.

Blog, children, Family, grandchildren

Foggy, Froggy and Soggy

Day 326

We spent the morning fishing in the tidal creed off the dock. It was hot with the heat index hovering around 109°F.

Not much luck catching anything edible although I did catch a shark and a small sting ray. Neither of which I would attempt to free by myself. Luckily our son-in-law and hubby were there to help. I am okay putting live bait on my hook and removing small fish, but not the dangerous stuff.

Our son-in-law took the kayak out to the small island created at low tide. He was using the cast net to cast for bait.

Unfortunately a storm came up and we all took a break until the storm blew over. We tried a little more fishing but the drizzling rain and the cooler temperatures signaled time to call it for the day.

After a nice dinner of homemade tacos we did some crafts and then played a couple of games of Uno which was lots of fun.

Three of the German Short Haired Pointers are here, so after dinner there was a huge pile of dogs and people intertwined relaxing and watching a little TV. Our granddaughter made peanut butter balls and coconut balls for snacks.

After a good night’s sleep we had a relaxed morning. Now it is time to pack up and head home. It’s been nice being with family and enjoying the water.

Blog, Home

In This House

Day 324

This is the house I always thought of as home even though we lived in other places. It was that way until my grandmother died. I try not to let my mind drift to how horribly betrayed my father was to discover he could not inherit the house as was his mother’s intent. It is a story which I will write someday, but not today. That will be a post about honesty, trust and betrayal. But today is not that day.

Maybe home is that place where we feel safe. Where none of the world’s problems can get to us. Maybe it is where our memories reside and where we learn who we are to be one day. I know this house was all of that to me. When we recall the love of home, it is not the house we remember so much, but the memories forged between those walls.

My grandparents slept in different rooms. My grandfather upstairs and my grandmother downstairs. When my grandfather slept, we tried to sneak in his room without waking him. The goal was to taste the cinnamon and sugar mixture he kept on his bedside table to help his cough. His bed rail was perfect for creating horses, using a towel and pillow for saddle blanket and saddle and a belt for a bridle. (Must have been sturdy furniture back then).

We had a room with bunkbeds. The top bunk was where we used an old stick with twine and an open safety pin as a fishing rod to catch the wire-hanger fish we had scattered on the floor.

This was the house my father grew up in. The place where he swears he saw little green men from outer space when he was home alone one day.

This porch is where we hung our heads over the edge of the knee wall to wash our hair in the rainwater.

Out back we had a small arbor of Concord grapes that was buzzing with bees in the summer months. My grandmother made the best jelly from those grapes and my grandfather made a small quantity of wine he kept in the cellar.

There was a Rose of Sharon bush that stood at the corner of the house. This is where I first observed the ability of a hummingbird to fly backwards. As I write this I can see the hummingbirds darting in and out of the hosta blooms outside my kitchen window.

Home was where I knew I was loved and felt safe. There would be many more places of residence in my life, but the number of ‘homes’ are relatively small in number.