Saturday, April 12, 2008

Who says you can't....

Last year someone (I think it was a SIL) told my Dad that lilacs wouldn't grow in Texas. Now, all my life I have been told that when my Grandmother needed to reprimand one of her kids she would send them out to the lilac bush to cut a switch. AND, if it wasn't big enough, you had to go get another one. I guess Dad had to cut many a switch for himself, 'cause he sure did like to tell us that story.

Anyway, Dad went all over town looking for a lilac bush, but none were to be had. I was looking at Southern Living magazine on one of the many trips to a doctors office, and there was an article about lilacs and which variety would grow in our part of the state. I ordered one and it came while I was in SC last summer. Needless to say, Mom and Dad planted the little thing in the middle of the front yard (not my choice of locations, but oh well) and durn if it didn't survive the winter and is now in bloom. It is not a very big thing, but it is blooming...Praise God.

On the other hand, Sean and I tore out the vegetable garden in the back. I am going to decrease the size of the bed and plant some kind of flowers there. It is against a chain link fence, so I think some kind of vine would be nice. Some perennials, so that I don't have to mess with planting every year. I am just not the gardener my Daddy would have liked me to be. I think I will also do some upside down tomatoes, so that Mom can pick them without having to get into the garden. (She fell in the squash last year and Dad couldn't get her up so she is not allowed in the garden any more.)

Tomorrow some of us are going to the Bluebonnet Festival in Chappell Hill. I will let you know all about it later.

Friday, April 11, 2008

It has been ever so long since I have written here. I mean to everyday, and then just don't know where to start, or what to say. So, I guess I will just start from the beginning.

DAD - We had to put Dad in the hospital the weekend before Christmas. He had pnuemonia again, and as the week passed, he just got weaker and weaker. We called in the family and finally had to say "Good bye" on New Year's Eve. We know he is in a better place and is with out pain or infirmities. The funeral was here in Bryan on Friday and we took him to Zephyr to be buried in his family's plot. Here is the tribute I gave at the will tell you a little about our Dad.

"There are so many stories about our Dad, Grampy, Great-Grampy, I am not sure where to start, because we could be here for several days, if we told them all. Growing up with our Dad was, at the very least, an adventure. As we have sat together the last few days and shared our memories, most of them come back to the many excursions we took over the years. They weren’t fancy trips, although Mom, Dad and five kids piled in a car one December back in the 50’s and drove to Texas to visit the relatives for Christmas. We were so excited to meet our aunts, uncles and cousins, to see the farm where our Daddy grew up and where so many of his stories had come from and to see “real” cowboys (anyone who wore boots was a “real” cowboy to these Yankee kids and several of our uncles fit the bill). But most of the time, we would just pile in the car on a Sunday afternoon. We never knew where we were going or how long we’d be there. It could be a picnic or a dip in the lake, or maybe just a drive down a country road that he thought we should take. Back when the “older” kids were growing up, Dad would sometimes find a back road to our Grandparents house in New York. We wouldn’t have a clue where we were going, until we saw the “black bridge” and then we knew and he would laugh as though he had really played a trick on us. With the younger kids, he would find a berry patch and we would pick buckets full for Mom to make jam or maybe we would pick melons out on the A&M farm. But, whatever the destination, Dad would make it an adventure.
He was always building something, or planting something. If there was a patch of ground, he would put a garden or fruit tree on it. I have never had a green thumb, but very soon after I came back to live with them he wanted a garden. Of course, he wasn’t able to do too much of the work, but ok, I thought, I would handle a small garden. BUT NO!!!! Our garden had to take up most of the back yard. My back hurt for days, but we loved the fresh vegetables. I thought we had a huge garden until Mike told me the other night about a garden they once had with 107 tomato plants, plus corn, squash, green beans, lettuce, beets, etc. I guess I didn’t have it so bad after all. (But, if you need any green onions, please let me know.)
Dad was so proud of our achievements. Graduations, weddings, grandchildren, he loved it all. I think a moment that really shows this was when one of the grand-daughters went off to Marine Boot Camp the day he had his second open-heart surgery. Three months later Dad and Mom flew to Charleston and off we went to Paris Island for her graduation. He was like that for all his kids, grandkids and great-grands.
There are several “Dadisms” that we remember well….
“get that hair out of your eyes”
“close the door, were you born in a barn?”
“I cut my upper lip worse than that and went on whistling”
“I walked 5 miles to school, bare-foot, in the snow, up-hill both ways.” (He went to school in Texas, for goodness sake!)
But, the greatest lesson he taught us was to have love and laughter in our lives. If you had been by his room in the hospital these last few days, you might have wondered what was going on, because we were cutting up so bad, but we were sharing that love and laughter that he cared so much about. He would be lying in that hospital bed, sound asleep, or so we thought, and as we talked, joked and laughed, you could look over at him and he was chuckling and smiling along with us.
And talk about love! Who would have thought that that cute young girl, who found him on that street corner oh so many years ago, would still be around today? Mom and Dad’s love knew no bounds. Oh, Dad loved to pick on Mom, but she would just give him “that look” and go on. The last thing he said on Monday, when Gerry told him that Mom was coming to see him was “I love her.”
And, Dad loved each of us un-conditionally. No matter what kind of trouble we were in, or how much we messed up our lives, (and Daddy would say “you know who you are”) we always knew that Dad and Mom loved us and that we could always come home again. And some of us did. We might have stayed for just a while, or moved in permanently but we were always welcomed. Daddy always said “We may not have much money, but we’ve got a hell of a lot of love.”
So Daddy, we will miss you and all the lessons still untaught. But we will never forget the love, the laughter and the great adventures we encountered along the way. And we will always try to make you proud".

SEAN - Just a couple months after that, Sean's girlfriend broke up with him and he and his two dogs moved in with us "temporarily." He is exploring his options, which include job changes and new living quarters. Who knows what the future will bring there. It is a joy to have him here and I think Mom is really feeling more secure with a man in the house.

ME - I have been able to do somethings for myself. I was able to attend our Guild's quilt retreat in February. It was a much needed get away and had lots for fun making new friends and expanding my skills. I also got to go to the Dallas Quilt show in March where we saw many beautiful quilts.
There was even one of Middleton Gardens in Charleston, done in tiny circles (like a digitized picture). You couldn't recognize it unless you were far away from it.

A couple weeks ago, two of my quilting friends and I went to the Tyler Quilt show by way of Georgetown and Temple (about 150 miles out of the way). We participated in a Shop Hop (the reason for going so far out of the way) and managed to visit 4 quilt shops, plus the show. We also were able to "do" the Azalea Trail in Tyler. I had no idea that the azaleas and dogwoods would rival Summervilles, but they did.

Ok, I guess that about catches me up...I promise I will try to do better from now