Comfort

When I was 17 by family of origin blew up. I ended up in Juvenile Court and was made a ward of the state until my 18th birthday, several months later. My mother and stepfather were deemed unfit to finish raising me. I went to live with Becky’s family. She was my friend all through our public school years. Her Dad drove me to high school everyday, with Becky and her brothers. Those mornings Dwight was on his way to teach music at the elementary school where my cousins attended. Her parents attended the same Episcopal church where I attended. They had at least 5 kids and were willing to house me until classes began at University of Cincinnati.

Becky’s mother’s name was Maria. I admired her so very much. She was a tremendous comfort giver without trite sayings or false wisdom. Once when I was upset over the family blow up she drew me into her large kitchen. They had a huge gas range with a drawer on one side.

It might have looked like this.

In the drawer she kept her saltine crackers. They were never stale from humidity because of the pilot light in the range. They also were warm. She sat me down at the table, made some tea and brought out those crackers with jelly. I was comforted by her listening skills, but also by her comfort food.

Maria was a lovely lady of faith and artistry. Her home was a comfort. I saw her many years later with a brace on both wrists. She suffered from arthritis. My heart was saddened by her pain. She assured me the braces helped. I never dreamed then that I too would someday wear a wrist brace.

She told me once how her beloved husband, Dwight, courted her and brought her a bouquet of Sweet Pea flowers. I planted Sweet Peas and was able to take her a bouquet.

I miss her dearly and think of her often. She is one of those women I want to emulate. May God bless her soul and keep her close in heaven. I look forward to seeing her again!

Movie Dinner

Our Christmas Day celebration was unusual. Celebrating with family was over and no big dinner plans for just the two of us. For the first time ever I got Bob to watch the humorous movie “The Christmas Story” which has nothing to do with our faith. He has always loved BB guns and had only seen portions of the movie. “You’ll shoot your eye out!” In that movie when the neighbor dogs steal the Christmas dinner, the family goes to a Chinese restaurant. So I suggested we order Chinese for our Christmas dinner, too. We called the restaurant to be certain they would be open. I know the woman who works there is a Christian and we did not want to take any chances.

Sure enough they were going to be open! So here was my Christmas dinner this year!

Cashew Chicken with Vegetable Egg Roll and broccoli from Bob’s Sesame Chicken! YUM. And we always get two meals from Chinese Takeout so that made double yum, but only one egg roll.

Not posting any big end of the year ideas. We have each had a difficult year in our own ways. I think the second verse of 2020 (i.e., 2021) will be much like the first. Glad the vaccines are here. Unlikely the virus will become under control for many more months to come.

Meanwhile, I am downsizing in a major way! Have compacted my sewing room. Will likely only sew a few masks and do mending in the future. I have one more t-shirt quilt in mind, but that too might not happen! Gotten rid of the major portion of crochet patterns collected over the years. As a crochet teacher I had collected many patterns. I got nostalgic when I found patterns I had made for my children and grandchildren. Following the advice of my friend Betty and our former Pastor, Bob Gerhardt, I am trying to embrace growing older gracefully. Letting go of things from the past is one way to do that.

Next we move to the main floor of the house and down size there, too. The builder should break ground on our new house in February. They say it will be ready in May. I’m thinking Bob will be ready to move in April and I won’t be surprised if it takes until June.

So don’t shoot your eye out, wash your hands, wear your mask and social distance for months to come. We each want to live to enjoy thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s 2021.

World War II Christmas

My Dad, Paul Rush, was in the United States Navy for two Christmases.

My Dad is the third one over with his pants rolled the shortest!

Both 1943 and 1944 he was gone to war as Signalman 3rd class. He died when I was very young, just eleven years old. Found among his belongings was a re-telling of The Night Before Christmas. You will notice a few rhyming challenges, but hey! This was wartime. It took me many years to realize he must have copied it from a soldier friend because it speaks about the camp and a tent. My Dad was on a ship as far as I know!

My father-in-law was enlisted in the United States Army and missed three Christmases of 1943-1945. So I post this in honor of both of them. They spent those Christmas seasons away from loved ones, as do many military personnel today. May we remember them in our prayers.

Here is a scanned copy of one side. Then I will type it out for you.

“The Night Before Christmas”

 It was night before Christmas, and through the camp yard
 Not a creature was stirring – except the poor guards.
 My stocking was tucked in my shoes to save space
 And, besides, my tent doesn’t have a fireplace.
 My friend in his shorts, and I in my shoes
 Had just settled down for a nice tropic snooze.
 When out in the area there arose a great clatter
 That I sprang from my cot to see what was the matter.
 I became so entangled in my mosquito net
 That, if my friend hadn’t helped me, I’d be struggling yet.
 And then, very cautiously I pulled back the flaps
 Half expecting to see a battalion of Japs.
 Just imagine my amazement when I saw instead,
 The famous St. Nicholas, in his suit of bright red.
 He sat in his sled, which was pulled by six Jeeps
 And they bounced along gaily in short bounds and leaps.
 They came to a halt, and away Santa went – 
 And then very suddenly he was there in my tent.
 He was chuckling so merrily that his little fat belly
 Just like in the other poem, was shaking like jelly.
 And then I thought sure that this was a gag
 When I noticed his toy sack was a blue barracks bag!
 But he reached in the bag, and without hesitation
 Turned to my tent mate with a pack of “K” ration;
 And then for me – lucky guy that I am – 
 He dug in again – and came up with Spam
 He followed this quickly with de-hydrated potatoes,
 And then he produced a can of tomatoes.
 And then with the remark he had work to do,
 He raised a plump finger and up he flew.
 I dashed to the tent flap and was able to see
 Him get in his sled as he waved back to me.
  “Away Willys,” “On Ford,” was his cry in the night – 
 And in no time at all he was clear out of sight
 So it was with reluctance I got back in bed
 And thought of the things St. Nicholas had said.
 I’ll still have a laugh when I’m ancient and old
 At the thought of St. Nick sliding down the tent fold.
 That’s all there is to it. The story is through,
 But before I sign off, here’s my wish for you!
 May Your Christmas Be Merry,
 And filled with Good Cheer;
 May You Be Well and Happy
 Through Out the New Year. 

Cluttered

Yes, I know this is a cluttered photo. I snapped it to share with my daughter. This is my “Christmas Cactus” true name Zygocactus. Mine usually blooms sometime during the winter. This being the year of Covid and doom and gloom, death all around, mine decided to bloom on November 13 and bore mostly DOUBLE blossoms and buds! Yes, I was amazed, surprised and thankful. By November 13 most of my garden flowers are long past blooming. I did have an occasional carnation and snapdragon, but no more bouquets like April-September!

That corner of our office is no longer cluttered. We have been going through the house like the Tasmanian devil cartoon character!

Ruthlessly throwing things out like notes from retreats I have taught in the past. The four drawer filing cabinet is down to one. I just need inspiration to finish that one! I looked at one thing in the office and realized I had not even touched it in a year. Away it went.

The basement is unrecognizable. We have pared down, given away and trashed many items. This is one of my husband’s dreams some true. He knows I call him “Mr. Tidy.” I am not nearly as tidy as him. So Mr. Tidy is enjoying this process. Now he is amazed, surprised and thankful. I am getting into it. Covid staying at home has done this weird thing to me!!

Know anyone who wants some vintage crochet patterns? Yikes.

How it comes together

When I sit down to write on this blog a number of things occur after I pray over the computer and the room. At times, I decide to share old poetry and musings. Other times the focus is photos from things I have noticed on my walks with Lucky the dog or drives with Bob the husband. As you likely know my faith plays a huge role in my writing. One thing I have not done very much is to thank you, the readers.

Today is another gloomy December day in Ohio and I have gotten chilled enough times this season to remember that when I sit to write I better have that blanket for my legs! Today I am even brewing a cup of hot tea. Choice this morning is Darjeeling leaves from Churchill’s teas in downtown Cincinnati. Yum.

If you were not reading and letting me know your comments and the ones you like I would not have much motivation to continue posting. I would still be a writer, just not likely to post. So thank you for commenting and hitting the Like Star.

As I have said before, often the Holy Spirit haunts me with a melody or chorus from a hymn nor song. Here was the one early this morning. It prompted me to think of you and begin a new gratitude list right there and then. You, the readers are on that list!