Tremor Day

old man winter_4c5c07704689fIt has been an interesting day and yet I have remained calm. Starting with last evening the lady did show up to help. I didn’t get any time to myself but I was not surprised as I was teaching her.

I think she was a bit nervous on making sure she wasn’t hurting Al and doing everything right. Hopefully with each time she visits it will get easier for her.

We had a white ground today but no snow on the roads. Old Man Winter is going to make sure we don’t ever forget him. Al and I have watched today as spitting snow is blowing around. It seems odd that we see the snow and yet the leaf truck is out picking up leaves.

Because I can’t get out anymore enough to work in the yard, all my leaves are laying there with snow on top. I hate it. I like the  ground to be able to breathe and for it to be clean but not this year.

Today Al woke up in a good mood but as the morning progress so did his M.S.A. Right before lunch his sweating came alive. Poor guy is laying in his bed totally uncovered in his brief only with two fans running on him. I feel like I need to wear my winter coat when I go in to visit him.

He ate all his breakfast and all of his lunch. Right after lunch he started complaining of tingling running down his one arm. Now we have had issues for about two weeks with his one arm. He can’t seem to move it without my help.

He will wake me up through the night to have me come in and move it. Today is the first he has said it is tingling. I can’t decide if he is having a stroke or if the M.S.A connections just aren’t working making it tingle.

I listened to his heart and it was racing due to his tremors I believe. I managed to get the tremors to slow down as I massaged his hands. The heart rate slowed down and then it scared me a tiny bit as it slowed down so much I could barely hear it.

He finally drifted off to sleep for only about ten minutes then his tremors woke him up. I just came from in there and there is nothing I can do to get them to stop. It is crazy, a complete wire loss connection from the brain to the limbs.

I made some home-made chicken noodle soup for our supper. I also made some pudding. Pretty easy, the hardest part was waiting for the chicken to cook. After doing laundry and putting it a way, I am going to go lay on the couch and put my feet up.

I sure hope the new gal can do more work tonight than me.

Grandma, Memories, and her Dressing at Thanksgiving

Apple pie

With the holidays coming up, this  brings stress to me this year as it won’t be easy to get out to buy gifts or groceries, but the house will be pretty near darn perfect in cleanliness, since I have been home so much, I am an almost perfect maid!

Along with this, I thought I would mention a little bit about the wonderful holidays I have memories of. Let’s go back in time to when I was a young kid. We would all go to grandma’s house, and at that time, it meant all the families on that side of the family. Cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, brother’s and sisters. There were no excuses as to why someone could not come, it was just a known fact to be there.

Stores were not open, not even gas stations, the world became quiet for one day. The lady of each house would take along at least two side items and so this added to the already wonderful smells when you walked into grandma’s front door. Mmmm, I can still smell the aromas.

All of us kids would go outside and play tag, and run and play. There were no video games or television on. We used our imaginations to have fun. We rode our own bikes our parents brought, or there were always spares to ride.

When mom would open the front door, and yell for us all to come in, we would wash our hands and find our assigned seats at the kids table, and the adults would sit at the grown up table, then some adult would stand up and say a prayer of thanks for our great meal.

Grandma would always make her famous chicken and dressing. She also made fried chicken, and home-made yeast rolls with apricot preserves and lots of melted butter. Along with this she always had peach, and apple ,mincemeat and pumpkin pies, and if we were really good kids, we could have that advance to pie with ice cream on top. There was always a big ham that our uncle would bring and he would slice it and give us each a nice, thick piece, and of course all of us kids fought over the drum sticks and wish bones of the biggest turkey we had ever seen.

There was corn and green bean casserole, and the famous seven layer salad, pickled eggs, lots of sliced cheeses and crackers. A humongous bowl of mashed potatoes with a few lumps in them, and lots of slithering gravy to pour on top, and a big pan of sweet potatoes with lots of brown sugar and marshmallows on it. There were also sliced carrots and bread and butter pickles, red beets, green and black olives, which I always managed to keep going back and snatching another green one.

These were the days, the best of times. Now, today, I have to email my own kids, tell them the date and time of the Thanksgiving meal. Ask them to bring one side dish, and wonder who will and not will show up. Every business in the world seems to be open, so work schedules get in the way, plans with friends by grandchildren are sometimes made, causing some to come, eat and run. I wish I could keep the tradition alive of what was expected and happened so many years ago, but thank goodness I have my memories.

This was my grandma’s favorite recipe for her chicken and dressing, and I still use it today, and now you can try it!

Cook up a whole chicken, cool and de-bone. Put small pieces of chicken in a big bowl, and to this add four to five eggs, and stir. Then cut up  small bits of celery stalks, and add some bits of onion, according to your taste. Next, add one loaf of bread, whole wheat or white, that has been tore up into bite size pieces then salt, pepper, and celery salt, and stir. Next add one can of cream of celery soup and one can of cream of mushroom soup and stir. After all this is nicely stirred together, start adding the chicken broth until you have a nice bowl of bread that holds it shape. Pop into a 350 degree oven for thirty-five to forty minutes.

This was a recipe for a big family of 20 plus. You can down size the ingredients to make it the size you need for your family. This is a simple recipe that is moist and makes you want to go back for more. Easy to make as you can cook up your chicken the day before and store it in the refrigerator. There are so many varieties of dressings out on everyone’s table at this holiday, but I always return to the super good recipe of grandmas.

Thank-you grandma for giving me some of the best memories of my life. Grandma is still alive and kicking and no longer bakes those huge, soft, home-made sugar cookies, and no more pies and big chocolate cakes, and no more dressings. In January, she will be 97 years old and she is now taken care of by a very nice nursing home. She was a hard worker, in her day, a farmer’s wife, killing and cutting her own chickens, butchering their own beef, and eating out of her own garden. We could always count on getting good food at any time of the day or evenings by just visiting grandma. I love you grandma.

A Way Of Living

A chicken coop.

A chicken coop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were no clouds in the sky. The sun was boldly shining down on their already tanned bodies. No breezes coming from either direction from the world, and it was only nine in the morning.

Martha had been up since dawn. After waking her oldest child, she sent him, Luke, out to the wood pile to bring in fresh wood. With the wood she placed it in the wood stove and lit it, waiting for it to burn down to the right heat so she could start breakfast.

After getting the stove started, she and Luke went to the chicken coop and gathered enough eggs for their breakfast. Luke then continued on to the smoke house and pulled down a hanging ham, and brought it in to his mama. By the time they had performed these two activities, the stove was ready to use.

While Martha prepared breakfast, Luke went to the back of the house, and in one of the bedrooms, lie sleeping the other two children. He woke Annie and Laura up and helped them to get dressed. He brought them to the kitchen and from a heated pan of water, he took a clean towel and washed both of their faces and then ran the wet towel through each of their hair. He brushed each head and then proceeded to braid their hair and pin it with a bobby pin on top of their head.

Breakfast was ready then. They all sat together, Luke waiting for mama and the girls to sit first. He was the man of the house, after their papa had been sold two months prior. Luke had been taught respect and he knew that he needed to sit last. They all held hands and together said a morning prayer, that had become a ritual. Even  Laura and Annie knew most of it by heart. After the prayer, each one was given the chance to pray for someone or to ask God for favor for others and themselves. After each Amen was said aloud, they dug in to breakfast. There was no throwing anything away afterwards, as the plates looked like they had never been used.

Luke took the girls outside, while Martha cleaned up the kitchen. She took her worn picnic basket and filled it with more ham and home-made biscuits from the previous nights supper. She tied her bonnet on, and carried two more bonnets and the picnic basket outside. She and Luke tied the bonnets on the girls to protect their eyes from the sun and also not to burn their skin.

It was a daily ritual that each morning they went to the fields to pick crops. The walk they took to get to the fields seemed long with the sun beating down on them. Martha wasn’t sure but she thought it was about a mile to the nearest crop.

Mama found a lonely shade tree near by, and placed the girls under it, and she and Luke went to work. Every once in a while, a wagon would pass by and hand them a dirty jug filled with water. Each of this family partook in quenching their thirst. After the wagon passed on, the workers would go back to work, and if they were lucky, they could sneak in a short conversation with other workers.

At lunch time, the wagon came by once again, and picked up the old jug and replaced it with a new jug of water. All workers were allowed one-half hour break for lunch. Martha walked over to where her children were playing. They entertained themselves quite well. Inside the picnic basket Martha had placed two withered cloth dolls, and this kept the girls happy. They also tried to catch bugs and butterflies. They all sat under the tree and  ate the basket of goodies Martha had packed.

Tummies full, and break time over, Luke laid the girls down for their naps. Martha and Luke went back to work, and the girls slept.  About mid afternoon, another wagon came by, but this was not the water wagon, this was one of the boss’s hands. He motioned to Martha to come with him. She knew what this was all about, so she told Luke to continue working and to keep an eye on his sisters.

She climbed into the wagon, and met with the owner of the plantation, and had a visit in his private quarters for a short while. When he was finished with her, he motioned for her to leave with no good-byes or any words having been spoken. She didn’t hesitate, and she turned around and walked out of the door. She knew this was part of not only hers, but many other women’s jobs here in the fields.

When she got back, Luke went to her and asked her if she was alright. Although, he was her oldest, he was still a young lad, but he knew what had happened and he knew how things worked in their lives. If you wanted to remain where you were, and keep the family together as much as possible, you followed the rules, and you ask God for forgiveness for the deeds that needed to be performed.

At five-thirty a third wagon came by letting them know that they were done for the day. Martha and Luke gathered the girls and the basket and made their way home to prepare supper and do the evening chores. This was their routine each day and by dark all were asleep, dreaming of better days.

Just One More Half Day

Today was the third day of the roof. It is my fault and yet not my fault for this taking so long. I am putting a new roof on my home, and my son is doing the job. My fault is in I didn’t get all the supplies together first, then stay here and have the roof done. The part that is not my fault, is I don’t know what supplies and tools are needed.

It all started Tuesday, my son came here around noon. Part of the day was spent on what would be needed, and the another part was spent on getting tools and supplies. The roof was actually started late Tuesday afternoon, with the old shingles being taken off. During the day no decisions were made as to what to do with the old shingles and tar papers, so the yard was one solid black paper shingle mess. Of course there were breaks taken for restroom, meal and rest breaks. A start had been begun, but plenty of work left to be done.

There was a deadline, not my deadline, but my sons. He has a weekend trip he wants to go to, and he told me the roof was a two-day job, and he was leaving Friday, so I counted, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. This is three days if I can still add at my old age.

Wednesday comes along, and there are vents to be bought and we have to get a nail gun, so back to Menards we go for one more trip. This once again gives workers a later than planned start. My son had his lady friend get up on the roof and help him. I watched over the grandson, who just turned three and watched over Al. They worked very hard, but it is a much bigger job and more detailed than I ever imagined. The edgings, getting all of the nails, and staples out of the old roof, taking vents out. They made good progress when you looked at the front of the house, but if you went out back and looked you saw no changes.

So Wednesday evening all are pooped out. No one was interested in picking up shingles from the ground, and I knew that my back could not take the constant bending over to help also. I had been on my feet all day getting this or that for others and cooking and trying to keep the ship sailing smoothly. When you are standing on a hot roof, it tends to make you a little bit more short-tempered, and these kinds of little things stress me out very quickly. I don’t like arguing, I never did, but now that I don’t have a partner in my life, I only have to listen to Al.

The shingles had to be picked up, and no one was moving. I always have been a type of person that if something needs to be done, I will figure out a way to get it done come hell or high waters. I went to a neighbor’s house and asked if I could hire them to help pick up, and they said yes. I also stopped a pick-up truck going down my road, and asked them the same question. They also agreed. I had to pay, but it was worth it to me. If I am going to continue to make messes, then as I finish each part of the project, I clean behind me. It saves me a lot of time and hard work. These two people were much more refreshed then my family and in no time they had the yard back to normal. The roof was not even half done though.

Today, Thursday, bright and early my family comes back. No one had to go get any supplies. The two of them started putting the edges on, which I also learned a lot from this part, that it is very time-consuming. My son made a comment and whether he intended for me to hear or not, I did, and he had said he was leaving in the morning, and if the roof was not done, then so be it.

Now this didn’t roll with me at all. We are on the third day of a two-day job, and I knew in my heart the job would not be finished today. My son is a perfectionist when he works and I so appreciate this, but let’s face it, there are many time-consuming jobs to do when it comes to roofing.

I felt so bad for the girlfriend. I knew that no one could pay me to get on a ladder, so I was of no use, and I knew with the heat and the sun, and the frame of a woman’s body, we can not lift those heavy bundles of shingles. Here I was, once again, playing Mighty Mouse. One man and one woman on the roof, with over three-fourths left to go and they were leaving in the morning. Great.

I didn’t know anyone to ask if they were available to help. I don’t know people here any longer and the ones I do know are older than me.

Sometimes I ask God for strange requests, and this was one of those times. I sat there on my outdoor swing asking God for help. Nothing came into my mind, and then I saw a red mo-ped go by. Bingo, there was the idea, God had planted. I took the grandson and we went for a walk. The next time the mo-ped came my, I raised my hand like I was a school patrol. I bet I looked funny. Stop!!! In the name of the law!!, and he did. I walked up to this complete stranger and asked him, would you happen to know anyone in our neighborhood that wants to earn some money by helping my son shingle the roof? He told me he would go  home and ask his uncle. Within ten to fifteen minutes the guy came back with his uncle, and after brief introductions were made, the job was moving along faster. Now we had three men and a lady. Doesn’t this sound like a movie I watched once? Or was that three men and a baby? Well, I don’t remember, but this is who was on top of the roof.

Now here is where I put my nose in too far. I am thinking of my son who wants to leave in the morning, and can’t work fast enough to finish the job. I am also thinking of myself, sitting until Monday to get the roof started once again. You never know, or at least I don’t, what humidity can bring to an open roof with only tar paper on it, but my imagination was doing all sorts of thinking on what could happen. I wanted my son to not rush too fast and fall from the roof, or  his lady friend, and I also knew as the day progressed it was getting hotter, so I wanted to save everyone. This seems to be what I do in life, be a life saver.

What I didn’t take into consideration is the fact that all three of these men did not know each other, and all three had their own opinions. They did not get along real well, each one wanting to do it their way, and finally, my son climbs down the ladder and takes a too long of a rest. I felt awkward inside, as I knew these other men were there to help my son, not do the job alone. I tried talking to my son, but it didn’t help. The other two men worked until four thirty and then they all left, so they were there five hours.

Now the roof is ninety-five percent done on one half. The other half has all the edgings done so it just needs to be shingled, the easiest part. After the two men left, my son and his girlfriend got back up on the roof and did two more bundles.

When they came down, I had chicken in the crock pot, and I made some home-made macaroni and cheese and fixed green beans. They came in and we all ate. Al would not eat the chicken, too difficult for him. After dinner, I paid them and they left. I cleaned the kitchen back up, and am sitting here drinking my coffee and blogging to you.

In my mind I am thinking, the new two guys will be here at eight am tomorrow morning, my son and his girlfriend will be on their way to their weekend trip, so it is Al, me and two half strangers. According to my son, since just shingling is left on one half, they will probably have it all done in less than five hours.

I am hoping so. This turned out to be a much bigger job than I thought, but God is bringing me through it. Just one more half-day, then the weekend belongs to Al and me.

nail gun, photo taken in Sweden

nail gun, photo taken in Sweden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)