He was tired. Poor John had been planning, saving and working so hard at his job. He was a third shift stock man at the local Wal-Mart store.
He didn’t make much but it paid the bills and put a little extra jingle in his pockets.
He had two children who were grown. One off to college and the other working in a local auto shop. His daughter Katie had been smitten with a boy in their neighborhood. Ben had grown up down the street a ways on the side of the street where all the nicer houses set side by side like dominoes.
Kate had grown up in a nice enough home too, but there was no keeping up with the Jones’s homes on this side of the street. Putting food on the table and shoes on feet were the priorities on this side.
Katie and Ben went to the same schools, same colleges. John guessed it would happen sooner than later. He always hoped for later. Katie was the apple of his eye. Bouncing curls growing up. A mouth full of questions. John could always count on his sidekick being with him when ever he puttered in the garage.
Ever since Katie had come to him and announced she was getting married John made it his number one goal to give her the best darn wedding he could afford. Ben’s parents offered many times to take some of the pressure off of John’s shoulders but he always insisted with a NO, and it isn’t a pressure, it is a pleasure.
Katie’s Mom had died a few years back from cancer. Although Katie was practically all grown up John feared she would always need a Mom in her life. He did his best to fill in on both ends.
Katie would have him go along with her to try wedding dresses on. Although John could be working on mower engines he never said no and stood against the racks of dresses with a smile on every time she came out of her dressing room asking, “what do you think Daddy?”
“You look beautiful darling, just like your Mom always did.” Kate would smile and go back in and the question would be repeated dress after dress. Instead of hiring a professional photographer, John had a good friend that had an eye for the camera. His friend didn’t charge the couple. He let this be his gift to them.
Flowers were cut from the back yard. John loved all shades of pink flowers. It didn’t matter what kind they were as long as they were pink, his wife’s favorite colors. John picked up extra shifts and made sure that the food and drinks were going to be the best ever.
He hired a small company to do all the cooking. Nothing special, just a rib filling kind of food. Sliced ham, new potatoes fresh from the garden, a nice bowl of fresh salads, the complete meal. The wedding cake was simple but he thought it was beautiful. Two tiers, pink flowers all around the edges on each layer. He splurged and had a tiny working fountain placed between the two tiers. This was his gift to his baby girl, the food and the cake.
The wedding went off without a hitch. Ben’s parents gave the two a nice fat check and this went towards a honeymoon to Niagara Falls. The wedding was paid for. His baby girl looked beautiful and the two were married. Now they were having fun on their honeymoon just like he and his wife did when they were young.
Everything put a way, John sat on the curb of Wal-Mart on his break remembering back to what once was and thinking about the new grandbabies he would hold some day, just like he and his wife used to do when their own kids came along.
He smiled to himself. Life is good. He was blessed, He worked hard and it paid off. He had raised a nice family. He got up from his sitting position. Break time was over. Time to start saving for those toys the new babies would need someday.
I picked up this envelope in the mail today. It said it was from Valerie L. It was addressed to Al. When he got home I handed it to him. It took him fifteen minutes to open it but he did it. There was a very pretty card and two magnets, one for him and one for me. Thank-you so much Valerie. He really liked it and the magnets are adorable.
I sound like a broken record but once again if anyone wants to send Al a card just write to me at
I got a couple of recipes off of my Facebook friends this week. Since Al has struggled so much with pain I decided that I can’t take the pain a way, but I can keep his belly full. The two recipes I am going to make are really good-looking to me. I thought maybe you may want to try them too.
1 box butter recipe cake mix.
1/2 c. melted butter
1 8oz. softened cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 16 oz. box powdered sugar
1/2 c. melted butter
1 c. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking pan. In a bowl combine cake mix, egg, and butter with an electric mixer. Mix well. Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside. Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth, add eggs and vanilla. Dump powdered sugar and beat very well. Reduce the speed of mixer and slowly pour in melted butter. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour filling onto mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes. You want the center to be gooey so don’t over bake. If you want to drizzle chocolate over the top you may after 15 minutes of cooling the cake. Allow to cool for one hour before cutting.
1 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. salt
1 21oz. of cherry pie filling
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Beat in extracts.
In a separate bowl combine flour and salt. Add to the creamed mixture. Mix until combined.
Grease a 9×13 baking pan. Spread 3 cups batter. Spread with pie filling. Drop remaining batter on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until knife or toothpick comes out clean
Cool. Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over the bars.
1 lb. sausage
1/2 small red bell pepper
1/3 white onion
1/2 small green bell pepper
1 lb. frozen hash browns
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 to 3/4 cup American shredded cheese
A pinch of garlic powder
salt and pepper
1/4 c. milk
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large skillet cook sausage until browned. Place the sausage on paper towels to drain. Leave the fat in the skillet.
Dice up the onions, green and red bell peppers
Add to skillet and saute until just tender.
Place the sautéed veggies on a plate and set aside.
In a large bowl add the thawed has browns.
Stir in the sour cream until it coats the hash browns
Stir in the American shredded cheese
Season with salt and pepper, garlic powder.
Spray a 9 inch deep dish pie plate with cooking oil and press the hash brown mixture into the pie plate getting it as flat and even as possible.
Cover the top with sausage, onions and peppers. Set aside.
In a small bowl beat eggs with milk.
Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top of the casserole.
Use a knife to poke holes in the casserole so that the eggs mixture goes down further.
Top with shredded cheese
Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the casserole is fully set.
Let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy.
I am going to be making the Sausage Casserole and the Cherry Bars tomorrow.
While you are all sending Al cards you are doing more than choosing a card, sticking a stamp, licking the envelope. You are helping Al to smile, and to cling to what is just for him. You are also helping me to build memories of his life.
My Story In a Song, (Sorry I Am Weepy Today)
When I was a little girl I looked at my Daddy as my great big hero.
As I grew older I over heard words of disappointments from others. When I heard us kids names mentioned I always felt sorry I couldn’t do enough to make him love me as much as I loved him.
When I grew up and got married it seemed like maybe he was proud of me. He smiled and liked me being around. He never actually said he loved me back then, but I just knew. I just wanted my Daddy to accept me for who I was.
When he got sick and we found out he was going to die, a part of my heart and soul died right there on the spot.
Oh it hurt. It hurt real bad. I started taking care of him and weeping behind closed doors. I memorized every move he made. Every thing he saw I photographed in my memory. The crook of his smile. The twinkle in his eyes. Each day I tried my best to grab and hold close to me not wanting to let the next day appear.
When the morning sun did appear and I held my Daddy as he took his lost breath I wept. There is never a day that goes by that I don’t look up to the heavens and know he is up where he belongs smiling down on me.
Life is repeating itself and although I don’t want the sun to shine. I don’t want to hurt, I will some day be looking up to the heavens again knowing my brother is up where he belongs.
After I Said Good Night
My brother is crying
I can see his fear
I just left his bed
And closed his door with my tears