Saturday, February 25, 2017

In Love's Embrace

She died peacefully and drifted toward heaven in a chorus of Hallelujah.

She blessed the world with her music, her smile, and her humble graciousness, and we all felt blessed.

How do we remember her—by personal memories.

Mom was a mother hen, and she liked nothing better than to have all of her little chickens close by her side. She always wanted to know where we were, who we were with, and when we’d be home. When we were teenagers and came home late she would usually be in bed. As we passed her room we had to say our numerical order. Being the second born, I simply answered, ‘Two.’ Then went on to bed.  Mom couldn’t sleep until she knew we all home.

Summer break before my junior year of college I came to stay with Grandma for a week in June. As is customary in Oklahoma a huge storm came through. Sitting with Grandma on the sofa in her living room we were watching the news as the sky turn a greenish hue. Hail started to pound down from the sky and a tornado warnings went into effect. Pretty soon we could hear the storm sirens ringing outside of the house. On the TV they listed the neighborhoods that should take shelter and sure enough, we were in one of the area directly in the storm’s path. Being from the north I was ready to grab a mattresses and go for cover in the bathtub.  As the newscaster again listed the areas that should seek shelter immediately, I turned to Grandma and asked what she normal did at this point. She just smiled at me, and said in her lovely melodic voice “Oh, well I normally change the channel at this point”. 

My Grandma Watt was very wise.   
That chocolate is best served at breakfast with coffee.  
That green beans taste better with bacon grease.
That music can start a conversation.  
And defects, no matter how big or small they may be, can become a part of HOW you do something not WHY you do not.

My favorite Grandma memory comes from when I was living with them. If you got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and took too much time, by the time you returned to your room, it would not be unusual to find your clothes folded and your bed made! 

 My memories are from the little corner shelving wedged above the kitchen bar where she kept little trinkets and CANDY! She would reach up on the shelves and magically find CANDY for any child by her side.    

Mostly, I loved to hear her sing Amazing Grace and Rugged Cross when she and Papa Watt played in the Golden Okies Band.

Alleen always insisted on paying her way, whether to Braums, Red Lobster, or Sonic. None of her children would take her money, but we learned to say, "Thank you for offering." 

In the end, I will hear her voice say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

I feel sure that those were her last words, too.  She told me time and time again that if she ever quit talking she would die. She made doctors and nurses chuckle when they tried to take her vitals, because she chatted continually. I’m sure that on that Sunday when a stroke stole her ability to speak, she had reached her frail hand up to touch the young aide who had pushed her to the dining room, and said, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Glimpse of Hoar Frost

Last week we awoke to a thick heavy fog that blanketed the brown grasses and trees. The cool air kept me inside looking out.  The forecast the next day was for more fog along with colder temperatures, and I kept my fingers crossed that Mother Nature would delight us with a glistening morning of Hoar Frost.  However, we were lacking the key ingredient to form Hoar Frost--moisture. When it's cold enough outside and the air is filled with water vapor then Hoar frost can form. It is more often found near unfrozen lakes and streams on a cold morning when temperatures are fluctuating.

Several years ago we awoke one morning at our home on Quivira to see the grasses, bushes, and evergreens covered in ice crystals, sparkling in a light fog.  I threw on a heavy robe, grabbed my camera and ran out to take photos.  Even the grasses collected the ice crystals and crunched under my feet, but my camera could not capture the glistening grasses.

The ice crystals reminded me of why the Inuit Indians in Alaska have over a hundred names for snow, for these crystals could have each been knitted in various patterns by nature fairies. 

The term "hoar" come from the Old English word "har" meaning "gray, venerable, old. Hoar frost is found in O.E. c1290 expressing the resemblance of the white feathers of frost to an old man's beard."
Hoar frost etimology

I wish my photos could have spoken a 1,000 words, and since they didn't I thought perhaps the poets might describe it best:

"The Valentine Wreath" by James Montgomery

For thy locks of raven hue,
Flowers of hoar-frost pearly,
Crocus-cups of gold and blue,
Snow-drops drooping early,
With Mezereon sprigs combine
Rise, my love, my Valentine.

"Legend" by Stephen Vincent Benet

The trees were sugared like wedding-cake
With a bright hoar frost, with a very cold snow,
When we went begging for Jesus' sake,
Penniless children, years ago. 

Nature may have disappointed me this week by not encasing us in silvered crystals, but I have faith that we will someday see these angelic dainty crystals on our bushes. Staying alert to natures' changes offers such delights, nearly as much as a touch of love at Valentines. 

Frost Flowers are another surprise beauty of nature. This story was posted last year. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Glorious Secret and other Burts

Johnie Stapp, the man who coined the word burts. 

Genetics certainly colors our lives from the inside out. We accept what can’t be changed, but strive to correct our ills. However, my sister, Jonya, and I have both inherited a flaw in our tongue that causes us to tangle words and sometimes tinkle! There’s a connection, just keep reading.

When we were quite young my father, a golf pro, was already suffering pain in his shoulders and elbows from years of swinging a golf club, hammering, building, and repairing cars.  One evening after dinner he stood up to reach for another glass of water, and dropped the glass as he reached toward the sink.  Three sets of eyes turned to see the calamity and then heard, “Dammit, my shoulder burts!”

His two daughters and wife sat in silence, afraid to laugh or giggle, but what we heard and what we saw eventually caused a total eruption of hysterics. As much as my dad wanted to scream at us for our rude behavior, he could only join us in the laughter. When the broken glass was cleaned up, a sigh of relief waffled across our shoulders and at last dad explained, “What I meant to say was that my shoulder hurts really bad.”  Burts may not be in the dictionary, but it certainly has held a place in our vocabulary for over fifty years.

One day while shopping and beginning to feel tired on our feet, my sister attempted to explain our feeling, “There’s always a side down to any saturation.” Being tired only added to our uncontrollable laughter, and then one of us felt a warm trickle down a leg. Oh, my. 

Not long ago, a friend asked me about my houseplants that were so strangely shaped. I tried to explain that my grandmother called them “Never Dies”, but the proper term is cacculent.” She looked at me strangely, and my eyes searched my brain back in forth questioning the words I uttered. I continued, “Cacculent, yes, that’s either a cactus or a succulent. You decide.” I appeared as innocent as possible with the newly coined word.

Driving somewhere one day with my comical sister she began to chatter about shopping and what she needed. “I need some new underwear that gives me some support."  Since we were in Tulsa I suggested Zach’s Fifth Avenue. She thought about it a moment and replied, “No I’d rather go to Gloria’s place?” She sat in thoughtful silence, “No, it's not Gloria's," still sighing and thinking, "It's Glorious Secret, for women like us."

"Yes," I laughed, "We'll keep it a secret."

She often makes driving difficult for me, especially in new cities when I’m not sure where places are. Needless to say, our GPS had never heard of A Glorious Secret nor Gloria’s Secret, but we did manage to find Victoria’s Secret, and Victoria's Tea room.

Now the weather spins its own vocabulary and on winter days when the temperatures reach the 70's it is merely "twing" time, in between winter and spring.  

My fit bit just buzzed which means it's time to gualk, or go for a quick walk with the dog on a twing day. 

Please share your own funny word combinations in the comment box below.