Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Golf Gypsy: Making New Friends

I don't know if I've ever said "thank you" enough to my parents and the community of golfers from my old home, the Miami Golf and Country Club, for teaching me how to meet people and make new friends. (photo of: Pat Horner, Clara Barton, Helen Moore, Claire Oliver winners July 12, 1962 of Ladies Sunrise Tournament.)  <http://www.scoutsongs.com/lyrics/makenewfriends.html>   Not only does it have the right rhythm for my swing, but singing helps to relieve the stress or nervous twitches that come with golf and my life.
courtesy of  the Dobson Museum
To add to that my mother was a Brownie Scout leader, and those years of scouting helped to guide me in making friends.  To this day I often sing the scout song, when I'm swinging the golf club, with these lyrics "Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold."

Barbara, Stephanie, Donna 
Within days of our move from Hutchinson, to Norman,  this spring my husband had the foresight to join a golf course immediately.  I think he knows that his wife is slightly intense and high strung and needs fresh air and exercise, sometimes!   As soon as it was warm enough I ventured out to join the Trails Ladies Golf Association and meet new friends. The first Tuesday we worked in groups to take lessons from the pros.  It is especially important to be able to hit over the water on this course, and Stephanie Brecht helped us with that shot.  After lunch we were paired in twosomes to play in an alternate shot horse race.  My partner and I didn't finish in the money, but had a great time laughing at ourselves and the early spring mishits that we all shot. When I heard the laughter coming from everyone's voices, I knew I'd found a golf home that I'd enjoy for years to come.
Cliff hole at Dornick Hills

A few weeks later on a cool spring day the opportunity arose for me to join the Trails Ladies team play event and travel to Dornick Hills in Ardmore, Ok.  I was honored to represent The Trails at this unique golf course, and most of all to pay my homage to it's designer, Perry Maxwell, the same man who designed Prairie Dunes, my former home course.  What a vision that man had to see a green sitting on top of this cliff, and on a par 5 going UP.  My partner, and new golf friend Dawn Stork, and I played a dynamic
The Dornick Hills team. 
round of ham and egging it, as they say in golf.  She was on her game every time I was off my game.  That day I was off a lot, but you'd never know it by the laughter we created.

Shortly after this trip my back decided I needed a rest, so for the last month I've taken it easy with therapy and ice packs.  I played twice this last week (No woods) with new/old friends Ellen, Barbara, and Mary.  Ellen and Barbara were my golf friends from the 90's when we were all teaching school and playing golf on weekends and summers together, and for a short time Mary's daughter dated our son Michael.  What fun to be invited back into a group of friends who have good memories to share.

The songs are still in my head as I wonder down the fairways, singing and keeping my head clear to focus on the next shot.  Thank you to all of my friends who are "silver and gold."

Peggy celebrates her 2

I will miss you all, but I'll see your pictures, and read about your adventures through KWGA communications. 
Sue, Denise, Lois, and Betty

 Letty Stapp Watt, storyteller and historian

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Magic Jeanne

John, Jack, Jeanne, Jerry, Jim Watt
Jeanne is the fifth in a line of four brothers, Jim, Jerry, Jack, and John.  She and her husband Steve are the parents of five children, with Nate being the last and a brother to four sisters; Melissa, Jessica, Elizabeth, and Jennifer Joy. That alone is enough to make her my hero for Mother's Day and any other day.

I nicknamed her Magic Jeanne this winter when she volunteered to help us paint walls and halls in our new home in Norman.   The energy, drive, and many talents this woman possesses is why I named her Magic.  

After we signed on our new home on Feb. 28, 2014 we immediately drove to Lowe's to buy the first of many gallons of paint. The next morning Jeanne, who had driven down from Laramie, Wyoming to spend the week with her mom, knocked on the door of new home.  "Hi Guys," she smiled and waved a paint brush in her hand, "I've come to help paint.  Let me just change clothes then tell me where you need me."  Now that was before I could say welcome.  "Don't worry guys, I always travel with my paint clothes, and this brush because it works on trim so well."  I guess the mother of five would be thinking ahead with each trip to visit her grown kids.    Jack and I didn't even think to bring painting clothes, but we did move in with a bed for the guest room, a dinning room table with chairs and a small television.

Painting the master bedroom took patience because we used paint that said primer and color.  Two walls were complete before I studied our handy work. "It's not working.  The mustard color shows through," I quietly muttered. Jeanne stepped back, "I agree.  I agree guys." With our three heads together we realized this paint job would take primer first then color. So began our trips to Lowes.   Back on task I painted the middle to lower wall portions, Jeanne with her personal paint brush meticulously painted all of the trim while Jack stood on the ladder and painted the top portions.  At any one time someone was on a ladder, squatting, or nearly lying on the floor painting trim.  We were a team for four days in a row.  Throughout the painting period we made treks to Lowe's, Subway, Walmart, Lowe's, Subway, Walmart, until we were able to laugh.  Then one evening a fiery sunset glowed through our west windows, and we proudly beamed with delight at the changes in our home. We couldn't have done it without Jeanne's motherly attitude and mantra, "We can do this guys.  We can do this."
Magic Jeanne keeping her hands busy. 

At week's end we drove back to Kansas and Jeanne drove home to Laramie via Omaha where three of her girls live.  One month later we were back in Norman with all of our furniture.  The next week Jeanne arrived to help her mom, and that's when more magic poured from her hands.  She stayed in our guest room, now called Jeanne's room, until a crisis arose and she moved back in with her mom.  

One day we were discussing and measuring where we could move some large pieces of furniture.  We were in the thinking stage. Jeanne arrived needing some down time so Jack said, "Jeanne stay her, watch TV, sit outside, whatever and relax.  We'll take care of mom this afternoon." 

"Ok, guys.  Bye, see you later,"  always smiling laughing Jeanne waved good-bye.  A few hours later we came home to find the large bookcase moved from one end of the house to the other.  "How did that happen," I asked somewhat incredulously.  "Oh, well guys, I couldn't just sit here so I moved the bookcase back to the guest room.  I hope you like it.  It looks really good." Her voice showed only enthusiasm, no exhaustion like mine might have.  "You truly are magical Jeanne," I replied, "And thank you but truly you can relax here sometimes."  
Jeanne and her mom, Alleen.

In the few weeks that she stayed in Norman, she helped us finish all of the unpacking and arranging, made meals for her mom, then went on to help paint in brother John's bathroom and kitchen. 

"Have Paint Brush Will Travel" became Jeanne's new card.   If it's Kilz you need or Primer you want that woman can tackle the job and elevate the laughter at the painting party.    

Her mom, Alleen Watt, is 90 and living proof that raising children only makes you stronger.   With ten children between them, they've learned what's important and what's not.  Happy Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

A few days ago, I attended OWFI, a writer's conference, and  wore one of my colorful outfits from "Adrian's Boutique" in Buhler, Ks.  During the very workshop a lady sitting next to me complimented me on my outfit and asked where I bought it.  I smiled and replied, "In a small town in Kansas at a darling boutique..." but before I
Sandy, Letty, Vicki with Vera Bradley in the background!
could finish the statement she interrupted and laughed.  "You bought it at Adrian's didn't you?"  Goosebumps jumped down my arms in delight when I heard her response.   Pointing to the lady next to me she said, "We're both from Wichita, and we drive to Buhler several times a year to shop."

For a few minutes my mind left the conference and thought of all the familiar places we left behind, where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came.

Anne Armstrong, owner of Roy's BBQ

On these cool spring days I would have enjoyed eating Roy's BBQ with the delicious garlic/vinegar coleslaw.  Several years ago I tried bribing Mike  for the recipe to the coleslaw; it didn't work so I just kept eating
there, slurping up the slaw and BBQ.  Now I miss the sweet and tart flavors, smoky aromas, and friendly chatter of the crowded tables, but most of all I miss hearing Anne's welcoming voice and cheerful smile, "Hello, Jack and Letty" or "You folks come back."

Drew & Jenny Bryant, owners of
Jackson's Meat Market 
As a teacher, I often find myself bragging on my kids; my kids I raised and my kids who lived in other homes but spent a year of their lives with me in the classroom or library.  I beam with pride every time I walk into Jackson's Meat Market, and hear Andrew Bryant's voice say, "Hello, Letty."  His lovely wife Jenny could only call me Mrs. Watt the first year they opened, but now we're just like friends sharing stories, only they are there, and I am here.  I highly recommend "Ray's Baloney" if you want a slice of tasty all beef bologna.  I am thankful that there really is more than one place in the world where everybody knows my name.

Cheers! dear friends, cheers!




 The song and lyrics to "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" are really quite interesting.