Monday, December 22, 2014

Rudolph's Red Nose

The winter, that Rudolph guided us home on the night before Christmas, began with a week of snowy winter days wrapped in fog, with clouds of drizzling mist that kept us shivering on the cold Kansas plains in Greensburg. The long drive across the state to Miami, Oklahoma was daunting on nights such as this, and I was often exhausted from teaching.
Beauty and the Bleakness on the prairie

On Dec. 24, 1976 school was dismissed at 2:00, an early release was quite a bonus.  Because the weather had been so questionable, we decided to caravan with another teacher and her husband (Dennie and Karen Smith) across the state, where they'd meet up with family near Coffeyville, and we'd drive on into Miami if the weather and the roads allowed it  We packed our 1975 little green Toyota Celica with winter clothes, blankets, Dr. Pepper, water, food, a few packages, and our beloved Cairn terrier, Squirty. 
Squirty and Frisky

The weather stayed dreary then dark prevailed. After Augusta the old black asphalt highway narrowed to two lanes and the headlights barely showed the tail lights of the sleek red Camaro that we were following. Somewhere near Sedan (on the old highway) I lost our caravan, so we made one last stop at a dirty battered gas station.  Afraid I'd get sleepy, I washed my face and kept the wet towel handy in the car for spills and to splash my face.  

With only a radio to keep us company we listened to the "Old Time" radio shows out of a Coffeyville station, and laughed at "Fibber McGee and Molly" and "George and Gracie Burns." Suddenly, I realized that we were the only people on the road, and our sight was limited by the low clouds and fog lining the bar ditches along old highway 166.  Even going 55mph seemed dangerous, but the slower I drove the longer the night.

Somewhere over a field Katy noticed a blinking red light up above and cried out, "Mommy, there's Rudolph.  I bet he's going to the farm."  Then like a tiny miracle I, too, saw that twinkling light.  Even though my mind knew it was a small airplane, my heart really felt the presence of life and hope. I opened my heart, released my fears, and let Rudolph's red nose guide us home safely to my parents farm.   

An hour later, we pulled into a star lite night on the farm with my parents outside to greet us. Katy leaped from the car and ran to gramps shouting, "Has Rudolph been here yet?"  To which my dad gleefully smiled, "You just missed him Kitten. He and Santa flew away just before you arrived."  

Jumping up and down in excitement Katy continued, "I knew it, I knew it.  I saw Rudolph's nose in the sky, and he showed momma how to find the farm."  

Katy's Christmas dolls.
Aunt Jonya listens to Katy's story.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Christmas Wish

Natures beauty year round.
Nineteen years ago tears rolled down my cheeks as I looked out our window into the woods and thickets on our land East of Norman, and began saying my goodbyes to our tiny world of nature's beauty, to our friends, and family.  
Katy and Matt 1990

Little did I know how blessed we'd be with eighteen years in Hutchinson, Ks.  Hutch is a place where we knew our neighbors; we borrowed eggs, sat out back and shared a drink and our daily stories; watched children and grandchildren grow up; loved on our
Pepper loved to have her ears rubbed.
pets up and down the street.  The birthdays said we turned another year older, but the laughter we shared kept each of us young. (We never thought to take pictures.  Guess we just thought we'd see each other everyday.)

Pat Maca French, Jack, Letty, Larry French
Jeannette and Kathy at LaVonne's in Buhler.
Kansas filled our hearts with memories of the prairie, the winds, the snows, but mostly the friends we met. We shared gourmet meals, rounds of golf, travels, bottles of wine, cheerful lunches, absorbing book discussions, and built deep and lasting friendships.   Our careers changed courses just like our lives, but with each change came growth, learning, and new friends.  We are thankful for those changes and those years filled with happiness and sorrow.

Our comfy chairs made the move and have already felt snow this year.


Once again the tears flowed as we said our goodbyes to the snowy windswept Kansas prairie and friends. We anxiously arrived in Oklahoma to family, friends, and a new future as a retired couple
searching for another purpose in life.

With winter's cold breath outside, we sit by the window and count our blessings.  A new tree out back will offer shade in years to come and a home for animals.  It's not the rugged prairie nor the cross timbers by the lake, but it is home.  So from our home to yours We Wish you All the Peace and Beauty of the Season, and time to count your blessings.  

  *Happy Birthday to my Christmas family and friends: Jonya, Mary W, Ann W, Diane D, Patty M, Jim R, Doug B, Carol U, Kathy T, Lora W