Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Family

At first I thought this challenge was going to be difficult as I love all of my family so much and there are hundreds of photos to choose from to depict “family”. Then, I saw this one. It perfectly illustrates the fun that my brother and sister and I have when we are together.  It’s not the greatest picture ever and they weren’t even standing perfectly to get the full effect, but it still works for me, because of the memories associated with it.

On this particular day, we were hanging out at a state park in North Carolina, enjoying the view, the weather and each others company. My sister had the idea for this picture, which was no surprise.  If there is a crazy idea amongst us, I can guarantee she will be the one who came up with it.

We’ve always enjoyed each other, but as life continues, with all of it’s joy and challenges, you realize more than ever how important family is.

By the time you’ve reached my age, you’ve likely lost someone dear to you, which further reinforces the brevity of life and a greater appreciation for it.  You realize tomorrow isn’t promised and the future is unpredictable.  People and the time you spend with them becomes a priority because you no longer take them or that time with them for granted.

May we be reminded today that “life is but a vapor” and make our choices accordingly.

 

Flashbacks of watermelon and nausea

REBLOGGED from last year

My brother, Ronnie and I in 79' at picnic area in Iowa.

My brother, Ronnie and I in 79′ at picnic area in Iowa.

It was the summer of 1979 at a roadside stop in Iowa.  The day my hatred for all things watermelon began.  I ate WAY too much of it; haven’t been able to stand it since.  Something about the gluttony and the heat mixed together and let’s just say I had to empty my stomach of all of it before we could resume our trip.

The rest of that trip was a good one though; it was my mom, dad, brother, sister and I.  I don’t remember what our vehicle was at the time, but I’m sure the three of us kids were sliding around in the back seat without the restraint of seat belts.  One of us would make a loud slap noise on our own leg and then yell, “Mom, so and so hit me!”.  “So and so” was whoever we felt like getting into trouble.

I remember that quite often I got to ride in the front because I got carsick.  This wasn’t one of my sneaky little games either although my brother and sister always thought it was.  Mom and Dad would usually attempt to make me sit in the backseat, but after enough pleas to, “pull over, I think I’m going to puke!” I would soon find myself comfortably lodged right between them up front nearer the air conditioner.  Okay, I admit, I wasn’t always really sick, but most of the time I was.

This was especially necessary in the summer when it was hot or if we traveled mountainous or curvy terrain.  I went on a trip once with my grandparents and aunt and uncle and threw up in the Catskills.  I told people about that for months.  To this day, when someone mentions the Catskill Mountains, it’s always the first thing I think of.

After my move to the front seat, Dad would cajole me into singing along with whatever country song was on the radio or 8 track tape.  One of his favorites for me to sing was Jessie Colter’s, “I’m not Lisa”, or Crystal Gayle’s “Don’t it make my brown eyes blue”.  With my eyes being brown and my name being Lisa, this was always funny to me.

I loved traveling as a child and I still do.  Some things about it haven’t changed at all.  There is something about heading out in the morning with coffee in hand, watching the sunrise as you countdown the miles to your destination.  Then there is the quality family time spent in the car together, arguing over the radio and temperature.  What about trying to get dad/hubby to stop for potty breaks and having to wait so long and pass so many possibilities that finally the only choice you have left is a nasty truck stop with no toilet paper or the other even less favorite option, the side of the road.

All in all, traveling with my family throughout the years holds more pleasant memories than bad ones.  Besides, looking back now, even the bad ones don’t seem so bad anymore.  After all, we were together.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Window

IMG_5545

Outbuilding window at Hofwyl-Broadfield Historic Plantation in Georgia

This past summer, my sister and I took a road trip together to visit my brother in North Carolina.  Our travel days were limited so we knew we didn’t have the luxury of doing the tourist thing.  I get to travel a lot with my job and to visit my out of state daughters, but my sister hasn’t had the pleasure of getting away much in recent years.  When I saw the sign for Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site, in Georgia, I was determined to stop because I knew my sister would be thrilled.

We were both so glad we took the 2-3 hours to visit.  Hofwyl-Broadfield is the site of a historic rice plantation, with the original house and some of the original furniture and outbuildings.  We walked and took pictures under the big moss and fern covered, live oak trees and enjoyed the stories the guide told about the families that lived there.

My sis and I live in the same small town, but it seems like life and work and family keeps us running in opposite directions.  We both genuinely try to make more time for one another, but it seems we never do it enough.

This trip was therapeutic for each of us; it was a time of long talks sprinkled with tears, about things only your sister would understand .  We also laughed until we cried and prayed together about the things on our hearts.  We then shared a great visit with my brother and more of the talking, laughing and sharing.

Although it was short and sweet, it was refreshing and necessary.  Reminiscing on it tonight reminds me why it will remain high on my list of favorite trips!

The lost laces

Shoe lace on a sneaker

Shoe lace on a sneaker (Photo credit: MoHotta18)

I began writing this on November 27, 2013 and about two paragraphs in, I got a phone call that my beloved Granny starring in this little story had gone home to heaven.  If you are a follower, you will know I have many posts starring the precious, Granny.  I hope you enjoy this one!

 

Granny lived in the yellow house across from the  K-12 school I attended during my elementary years.  Words would not begin to express the comfort that was derived from knowing she was so close, knowing that while I studied, she was in her rocking chair with the bible open on her lap, or visiting with one of her many friends, or maybe even baking my favorite chocolate pie.

One day in particular brings back another memory of a day Granny single-handedly turned my grey skies to blue.  It was a school day and on that day, I had P.E. as we called it back then, for physical education.  This meant I had to bring and wear the required hideous uniform which consisted of blue loose legged shorts which made my bony legs even more apparent, a white t-shirt, tennis shoes and white socks.  P.E. went well as far as I recall, except for Tommy calling me chicken legs, which always got him into trouble and upset me far more than I let on.

Afterwards, for some reason that eludes me, several of us had not only removed our shoes, but our laces as well.  When it was time to change and go back to class, I discovered that my laces were nowhere to be found.  This distressed me greatly and in retrospect, I have no idea why, but it provoked me to tears.  Granted, I was well known for losing or misplacing things and I was horrified at the idea of admitting that I had done it again.   This was also during a time in our lives when money was tight and I didn’t want to be the reason for another expense, albeit a small one, so perhaps this contributed to my extreme dismay.

I vaguely remember making my way to the office, with one thing on my mind and that was to call my granny.  I dialed her number on the rotary phone and when that beloved voice answered, I whispered my dilemma to her looking away from the eyes peering at me from across the counter.  Granny told me to come right over after school and not to worry about a thing.

So, when school was out, instead of boarding the hot, smelly school bus, I ran across the street to granny’s house.

After making sure I was well fed and hydrated, Granny and I left for the local hardware store.  We lived in such a small town, I remember doubting we would be successful in our quest.  Granny swung open the door and I followed as it chimed a greeting to us and announced to the proprietor there were customers.  She marched straight up to the counter and asked for white shoe laces, without even mentioning my name, bless her heart.  And lo and behold, they had some.

Granny paid and we waited for the little brown paper bag holding the laces to be passed across the counter.  I gushed with relief and thankfulness and Granny just smiled and hugged me tightly to her.

Now, I don’t know all of the details and never did ask, but my mother showed up later that afternoon to pick me up and not a word was uttered about missed school buses or missing laces.

My heart still swells with love and gratitude when I remember how granny always made me feel like I was the most important person in the entire world.  It’s funny because if you ask my siblings or my cousins they would tell you the same thing.  She loved us all and made each of us feel like number one without slighting anyone.  Tonight I’m feeling very blessed and thankful for her highly valued presence in my life once again.

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