Oskar and Allie

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Mark and I recently met our new great nephew Oskar and our new great niece Allie. These babies were born on the same day and their moms, Sara and Ashley, are sisters. Oskar was on time but little Allie was two weeks early.

Mark brought each baby close to me and picked up my hand so I could touch their heads and feel their skin. Then he put their faces up to mine so I could kiss, smell and nuzzle them. It felt so wonderful.

Welcome to the world, Oskar and Allie!

A Ride Down Memory Lane

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Mark’s sister Patti invited Mark, Bryan and I for a ride up north with her and her husband Luz to see the beautiful fall colors they had seen the previous day. The sun was shining brightly and I felt the need to get outside, so we accepted gratefully. As we rode along the country roads in the small towns of Ferry, Hart and Shelby we saw some spectacular color-filled landscapes among the rolling hills. We drove on many of the roads that took me back to my childhood and made me think of my dad and mom and their rich family ties to those small towns.

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First, we rode past the old Ferry School where my Aunt Norma was the principal. Well, she was more than the principle, actually. I was once told that after snow storms she would plow the school’s parking lot before school. Aunt Norma was a very independent and hard-working woman with a big heart. I was told she and Uncle Ernol bought our family Christmas presents when my parents couldn’t afford them. Then we rode through Hart where my mom was born and raised on the Kraus Dairy Farm. Shelby, where my dad grew up, was our next destination. I wanted to ride by my Grandma Beckman’s house where we spent most of our Sunday afternoons visiting with her but hoping some of our Beckman cousins would show up to play with us. Every Sunday my family would pile into our station wagon with a baby on my mom’s lap and no one buckled in and head to grandma’s house. In the evening during the Christmas season on our drives home we would have a competition by splitting up into two teams, each team getting a side of the road where we would count Christmas trees and the team that counted the most Christmas trees won. After a while we would start fighting as to who had the most trees and my mom would yell at us and then shut our game down. My dad, who was driving, would try to divert our attention from fighting by singing to us. He would sing “Under the Shade of the Old Apple Tree” and “Johnny and Frankie Were Lovers”. I’m not sure if the last song was appropriate for kids but we sure loved it when he sang to us.

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My Aunt Sis and Uncle Lee lived next door to my grandma so Aunt Sis could offer more support to her because she lived alone. Aunt Sis was the only girl in my dad’s family and loved the outdoors like her brothers. She could hunt and fish as well as they could. After my grandma died, Aunt Sis and Uncle Lee built a house by a river and I had the privilege of fishing with them or, should I say, watching them fish. They had a great system. Uncle Lee would stand upstream and Aunt Sis would stand downstream waiting for Uncle Lee’s cue that a fish was heading her way. She would get her net ready and before we knew it Aunt Sis would catch a nice big salmon. She cleaned it, cut it up and it was ready to eat. I know this type of fishing is illegal but it sure was fun to watch. Hopefully it’s safe to talk about since it happened more than 35 years ago.

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After we drove past Auntie Sis’ house we drove through the Beckman’s gravel pit which I visited a lot as a kid. My dad was always so proud of his brothers and the Beckman Brothers Sand and Gravel business they built, so every chance he got to visit his brothers at work was thrilling for him. As we rode on the dusty roads through the gravel pit I thought about the times my dad would tie a rope to the back of our station wagon and the other end of the rope to a sled and pull a couple of kids at a time until everyone got a turn. I suppose this was another illegal and dangerous thing we did but it was so much fun.

The day was filled with fall beauty and wonderful childhood memories.

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Communion and Swear Words

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I feel the need to explain my blog post from yesterday because Communion and swear words don’t really go together.

On Monday night I was mad at Mark and my anger drifted into Tuesday morning until we resolved our issue. It’s hard to stay mad at a guy that feeds me, bathes me, wipes my nose and my butt. On the other hand it’s so frustrating for me to be upset with someone and not be able to properly express myself because I can’t use my hands for expression and sometimes my words don’t come out clear enough to be understood which can frustrate me even more.

By the time the afternoon rolled around Mark and I were back to normal and I had finished my bitchy blog post and posted it to the Internet. Our friend from church, Barb Perri, arrived to give Mark and I Communion and pray with us. We had a really nice visit with Barb and after she left I took a nap before our dinner guests, Jill and Eric, arrived. A couple of hours later we received a text from my friend Jill saying she would be happy to drop dinner off if I was having a bad day. I’m thinking Jill must have read my afternoon post. Mark texted her back saying we would rather see them and they brought a wonderful lasagna dinner over with Jill’s homemade noodles in it. We had an uplifting and fun with our afternoon and evening friends.

As the evening came to an end I thought about how awful I felt in the morning and how grateful I felt at the end of the day.