Friday, October 30, 2009

Grandma Dodie:

This picture is the last one I have of me and my mother-in-law, also the last time I saw her.(except for in the hospital) I can't remember if the date was October 16th or 18th. Broadway Baptist Church was having a dinner and I went with Dodie. We had a good time visiting. Dodie walked me out to my car and said good-bye. I remember looking in my rear view mirror and Dodie just standing there on the parking lot watching me leave. That memory is still vivid in my mind.
My sister, Judy and I left the next day to take our parents on a trip to CA and OR to visit relatives. I called and talked to Dodie on Wednesday before her surgery. She sounded so good. She had surgery the next day for an abdominal aneurysm. The initial surgery went okay but later she started hemorrhaging and they had to take her back in Friday for a second surgery. Her health declined rapidly after that. Saturday night we were around Oklahoma City when I called Dwayne on our way home. I asked about Dodie and he said she was not doing well at all and they weren't sure she would make it. It was very devastating as I wasn't expecting that at all. I didn't call home on Friday so I did not know she had to have surgery again. Mom, Dad and Judy prayed with me while I was on the phone with Dwayne. At that point, I just wanted to be home. The weather was so horrible and the fog so thick you could hardly see to drive. We had planned to spend the night in Oklahoma but I needed to get home; I felt desperate to be home with Dwayne and the kids. I don't know how we did it as Judy and I were both so exhausted as we had been driving all day from Arizona. The drive was difficult on all of us. We were so worried about Dodie, tired from traveling, treacherous roads. It seemed to take forever. The fog finally lifted when we got to Joplin. We made it home around 3 a.m. Sunday morning. I got a little bit of sleep and then Grandpa Andy, Dwayne and I went to Columbia to see Dodie. She was still conscience but couldn't speak. I went over and held her hand and she clasped it tightly. You could tell she was glad I was back to see her. Todd and April had went up with Dwayne on Saturday. Chad came while we were there. Grandma just kept smiling at him and holding his hand. This was the last day we saw Grandma conscience. Her kidneys were shutting down and the next day they had to put her on life support. The next six weeks were hard on all of the family. I loved my mother-in-law very much and I was so glad I was able to get back and see her before she slipped into a coma. I cherish the dinner before I left, the last phone call and being able to tell her in person one more time that I loved her.
Family: There is nothing more precious than time with our family and the love of God for all of us.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I am a little late celebrating my great nephew's birthday online.

Trevor Hayden Elrod is the son of Dustin Elrod and was born September 28, 2001.

He has the most beautiful eye lashes. People tell him this so often that one day he decided to "trim" his lashes. He only got one eye done before his dad found out.

Trevor is a doll and he knows it, he can twist you around his finger pretty quick.

When Grandpa Andy passed away Trevor spent the night with April before the funeral the next day. He was asking her alot of questions, where Grandpa's legs were(never thought of that before, but you do only see the body from the waist up), if he needed his house and barn, etc. Then he got to the talking fish. He said, well, he can take that talking fish with him to heaven because it scares me to death!! We thought that was cute and funny. We are saving the talking fish for Trevor when he gets older. He will appreciate the irony of the fish story then.

Trevor loves taking pictures and I usually buy him a throw away "camer" (as Trevor calls a camera). One year at Christmas, I bought him a real child's camera, he did not appreciate that at all, it had to be the ones you just take right to the store, Aunt Connie. So, disposable camers it is.

We all enjoy Trevor and the great nieces and nephews on my side of the family treat him as if he's a celebrity. Even when he was too big for them to carry around they were constantly trying to pick him up.
Happy Late Birthday, Trevor!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wonderful Weekend:

We celebrated my Uncle Robert Feeler's 79th birthday at his house with a surprise party Friday night. He did not expect to have company at all and was certainly surprised to have so many there. All of his living siblings were there except Uncle Hubert Feeler and he came earlier in the week to see Uncle Robert. Uncle Robert's health is not very good and he had been in the hospital in St. Louis for a couple weeks. We had a great time visiting. My sister, Judy, her husband Joe along with Keith and Sydney Feeler sang several songs as Joe picked the guitar. Judy's grandson, Nathan Rowe also sang.
April and I went to Rolla for the crafts festival on Pine Street. We saw the "Howard Girls" almost as soon as we got there. We always look forward to seeing them and visiting. We didn't buy anything, just shopped. We ate at Panera Bread. It was very good. I have always wanted to eat there but Dwayne didn't so I hadn't had a chance to eat there yet. Dwayne and I watched the movie, Australia Saturday evening. It was a good movie.
When I was young, our family would take a Sunday Drive after dinner. It was usually on roads around, Rolla, St. James and Newburg. Well, we went on a "Sunday Drive" yesterday! And it was a long one!
We started out by eating breakfast at Hardee's in Rolla. We then started our drive by going through Steelville towards Ironton. Our first stop was at Elephant Rocks.

We then drove to Tom Sauck Mountain and climbed the lookout tower. I was kind of surprised at myself for going to the top as I am afraid of heights. April didn't make it but about half way which surprised me as she was always a little dare devil. The view of the trees and surrounding hills were beautiful. We could see the reservoir from up there.

We then drove back to Ironton and ate at a restaurant I had read about in the the rural electric paper, Baylee Jo's. It was very good. They use cherry wood in the smoking process but also have a barbeque sauce with cherries in it. I thought the sauce was good but Dwayne didn't care for it, he preferred the spicier sauces.
After eating we went to Johnson Shut-Ins. Dwayne and I used to camp there with friends back in the 70's. Hard to believe we are the "old timers" reminiscing about how the park looked then and what was here or there. I'm sure April and Mike got tired of listening to us. But it was different! It is so hard to look at the entrance to the park now and visualize how it looked before the dam broke. The camping area is now almost treeless and there are boulders that look like someone just picked up a handful and tossed them about. The actual shut-ins looks pretty much the same.

We then drove up a side road trying to get a better view of the reservoir. It was so weird, you would see it in the distance, turn a corner and you couldn't see it. Then when you least expected it you would see a view again. Due to construction the reservoir is still closed. I would like to go back in a few years and look at when it's completed. As we were leaving the area we saw the exit for Sutton's Bluff. It was an additional 8 miles off the highway so we didn't stop this time. Sutton's Bluff is where April fractured her neck years ago on a camping trip.

We then headed to Eminence and on to Alley Springs. The paddle wheel is no longer there but the area is beautiful.

We had about an hour of daylight left so I tried to get in one more attraction. We went to Round Springs north of Eminence on Hwy 19. Normally, the spring is the most beautiful blue color, even more of an intense blue than Blue Springs. I was so disappointed that with all of the rain and flooding the water was not clear.

We put in quite a long day site seeing and went about 256 miles. We topped off the day by treating ourselves to milkshakes at Sonic. I am glad April and Mike shared the day with us.

Family, what more can you ask for in life.

Friday, October 23, 2009


It is so hard to comprehend the death of a young girl. What has our country come to when young children are abducted and brutally murdered? This hits so close to home. We have gone through this with friends and to have this news on the day of Susan's birthday is hard.
I pray for this family and what they will endure. After they somewhat deal with the sorrow of death they will then have to endure the trial and relive the nightmare over again.
I also pray for the teen's family as they are also facing devastation of their family structure.
We need stricter punishment for these evil crimes.

We should all cherish each moment spent with our family.


Susan Jo Southard Brouk:
Today would have been my friend's 48th birthday. It is hard to imagine Susan being 48. In my mind, she is still 36 years old, the same as the last time I saw her.

My friend, along with her children, Adrian and Kyle were brutally murdered in 1998. I do not want to relay that tragic event on here.This was a very horrifying experience for all in and around the Vichy area.

Instead, I would like to celebrate Susan's life. She was a good friend, very quick witted and a wonderful mother. I have known Susan since I started running around with "The Vichy Bunch" in 1974. Susan was more talkative than her siblings. Susan was a hard worker, always working to make her kids life better. Her children were the light of her life and she protected them to the bitter end.I want to remember the good times I've had with Susan and the memories of our children playing together.
She is sadly missed by all.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend Recap:

A busy day at work. April didn't go out Friday night so she watched TV with me and Dwayne.
We had a Feeler Family Reunion at Salem Avenue Baptist Church in Rolla. Along with the food, we had a nice visit with relatives we only see once a year. My Uncle Hubert Feeler is 90 and looks great. He still goes to the sawmill every day to sharpen the blades. My great nephew, Nathan Rowe, rode home with us.
Saturday evening, Dwayne and I went into Rolla to the visitation of a lady, Helen Waldron, from the Vichy community. We thought the visitation was from 6 to 8. Apparently we were wrong as the funeral home was dark and the parking lot empty. I called Dad and he said the visitation was from 4 to 6. At least we got out of the house. We then ate at Maid Rite and went home.
April, Mike and I went to church and stayed for the meal afterward. We had sandwiches and two different soups. It was all very good.
I went to the funeral at two for Helen Waldron. We went to church with Helen and her husband, Harold for several years. One of the preachers from that time, Bud Sanders, officiated at the funeral. We had not seen him or his wife, Agnes for approximatley 15 years. It was good to see them again.
We spent the afternoon playing cards. April won the first game and Kate won the second.
My Sunday evening family meal is not going the way I had originally planned. I had set it up for six in the evenings, that way if the kids had plans during the day it wouldn't disrupt them. Well my boys plans do not coincide with mine. As usual, Chad was riding horses. Todd was at a squirrel fry. Luckily, Kate and Kensie had stopped by and spent the afternoon with us and I coaxed them into staying to eat. We had smoked pork loin, home made fries, corn, and green beans. I had also made molasses cookies and peach cobbler. We had a nice meal even though the boys weren't there.

Overall, I had a nice weekend, plenty of food and good visiting.


Now it seems the parents may have released the helium balloon as a way to get on television. If that is the case, I am very disappointed that someone could put people in such turmoil. What a cruel trick. I wanted to give the parents the benefit of doubt. I am not sorry that I believed the story and prayed for the little boy. The boy needs our prayers whether he was in the balloon or not. Actually, the whole family still need our prayers. Hopefully they have learned a valuable (and expensive) lesson.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Balloon Incident:

It is wonderful news to hear the little boy from the balloon incident yesterday was found and is alive. The boy was hiding in the attic of his parent's garage. What a wonderful ending to what could have been the tragic loss of their son.
There is still alot of controversy over whether the family was doing this for a publicity stunt. I would like to believe not. I would hope these parents did not put our country into turmoil and anguish watching the balloon spiral out of control and lead us to believe the boy was inside. We have enough negative news coverage, I am just thankful this had a good outcome. Prayers were answered.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Prayers Not Condemnation:

I just read on the internet about the little six year old boy that accidentally went up in a home made air balloon. With television news coverage displaying the out of control balloon and hoping to rescue the little boy all played out live to the horror of the parents. The fear these parents had to feel watching this scene and hoping and praying their child is alive. I cannot imagine their pain. And then to have people comment negatively about this family, wanting charges of neglect brought against them. How unfair these comments are. This family is enduring a nightmare and are going through all of the "what ifs" in their minds. Kids are going to be kids and adventurous. I'm sure every family has an incident that stands out in their minds of their childhood and or child and wondering how stupid they were for doing whatever stunt they did. There was even one comment made that the parents could have put their child in the balloon to get rid of the child. Please everyone, lets give people a chance and not see evil in everything. Please pray for these parents and their child.


I feel very blessed by the friends I have.

Yesterday, a dear friend I go to church with came to my work and took me out to lunch. We had a nice visit. Thankfully, my boss doesn't mind my half hour lunch extended to almost two hours.

Last night we watched our friends baby while they took their older son, Blake to the circus. Nathan will be three weeks tomorrow. He is a good baby so far and we enjoyed watching him. Although when he cried I just handed him off to April. She's younger than I am. Ha! My mom always said that about me and now I'm doing the same thing to April. When I was younger I didn't really understand why my mom would say that, I always thought she could do more. Well, the joke is on me, I fully understand now! You just get plain old get worn out. When the kids were younger we went shopping together. I would carry in Mom's groceries and put them away. She would sit down to rest. I had tons of energy and couldn't figure out why she didn't help me. (and this was after shopping with three, sometimes more, kids).
I would then go home, put my groceries away, fix a big supper and still have energy left over. NOW, I get it!! It is just me and April shopping (no kids involved) and when I get home from town, I dread carrying the groceries in. Let alone putting them away!! So if you ever think you won't say something your Mom has said, think again. History does repeat itself.

I am grateful I still have my mom in my life. She is 80 years old but she does not act like it and is a great inspiration to all of her children and grandchildren.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Weekend Recap:

The night before Iron Works at Meramac Springs in St. James is always a very busy time in our household. Dwayne was busy all day and several days before getting ready to make molasses. This requires several trips taking the cane and equipment to St. James. It was nice that Dwayne was laid off a few weeks ago so he could do this during the day instead of the evenings after he got home from work. Zach always spends the night with us so he can help Dwayne. He is a very good worker. When he was younger and came to the house, he always wanted to do "man's work". He has grown up to be alot of help. Ashlyne also spent the night and helped me get the jars and tags ready.
As usual, I don't get up very early so we didn't leave the house until a little after 10. The day started out cold and dreary. Luckily the weather cleared up and we had a nice day. There wasn't a very big crowd at Meremac Springs due to the weather. What started out years ago as Feeler Molasses is now Feeler Molasses, aka Elrod Boys. Dwayne, Chad, Todd and Dwayne's brother, David along with his sons, Dustin, Andy and Cody do the majority of the work. We use mules to power the press that squeezes the juice from the cane. Chad's mule, Pedro put on quite a show as he didn't want to be put in the harness. We also have help from family and friends, especially Jim Matlock, better know as Big Red. My helper was my nephew's wife, Billy Rowe. She was a great help in pouring up the molasses and my great neice, Lizzy helped with bagging. Liz also decorated each brown bag with colored pumkins. She kept busy all week coloring on the bags. Liz's friend, Jena also helped. Liz and I took Jena to Vienna to meet her cousin to go to the Jason Aldean Concert. We got back to St. James in time to go to the dinner the staff of The James Foundation gives in honor of the exibitors. We had fried chicken and mashed potatoes/gravy and an abundance of side dishes and pie for dessert. As always, it was very good. Along with Zach spending the night, I had Lizzy and my great nephew, Trevor Elrod. I thought they would be so worn out they would go to sleep pretty early. How wrong I was!!!!
Liz and I left the house around 10:30 so we had plenty of time to set things up before the gate opened. We have such a good time visiting with family and friends that show up and the people who come from miles around. April, Billy and I had a good team effort going in pouring up the molasses, bagging, etc. April's friend, Mike Holtmeyer got broke in as a rookie. We went kind of easy on him but look out next year! We had a long day and didn't leave the park until around 7 p.m. Ashlyne and Tess rode home with me. We stopped at Dominos Pizza on the way home. I was waayyyy too tired to try and cook.
I took the day off to rest up some. Not too much rest as April and I went to Columbia shopping. We had a good day, ate entirely too much! We had a snack on the way to Columbia, sweetened pretzel sticks at the mall and then we went to I-Hop to eat before heading home. Needless to say, we did not eat supper.

I am so grateful for all of my family that helps with this old time venture of making molasses. We are carrying on the tradition my Dad started in 1978. His legacy of molasses making will continue down through the next generation. Todd has learned how to finish off a batch of molasses from Dwayne and Zach shows talent of helping and also learning the art of skimming the molasses as it cooks.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Nap:

Oh, what I wouldn't give to be able to go home from work this afternoon and take a nap.......
Rain and sleep just seem to go together.

Last night we went over to visit the new baby, Nathan Steven Allen. Dwayne hadn't seen the baby yet. The baby is doing great and Blake is a very proud big brother. Blake had to show April his room, toys, shoes, etc. He was very excited to have "his April" come to his house.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Weekend Recap:

Not much going on, end of work week and an evening watching TV.
The evening was spent celebrating my great niece, Ashlyne Paige Rowe's 13th Birthday.
Ashlyne was the first baby in our family for several years. Needless to say, we all spoiled her. Ashlyne was a very high maintenance baby, always needing attention and cried alot. Until the next baby in the family came along my kids didn't know babies could be quiet and entertain themselves as Ashlyne always demanded attention.(and still does) We kept Ashlyne most weekends during her first year. We doted on her constantly which may have contributed to her wanting so much attention. Ashlyne always called me Nonnie instead of Connie. I always liked to think of the name as being similar to Nana (Grandma, Nana, I was trying. Ha!) I taught her a song when she was about a year old, much to the dismay of my family as they got tired of hearing me and Ashlyne singing it. I still make her sing it sometimes. "I love my Nonnie, oh yes I do, I love my Nonnie, Yahoo" Ashlyne has now entered the teen age years and has grown up so much in the past year. She is very tender hearted and is extremely protective of her brother, Zach. Ashlyne is the daughter of my nephew, Troy Don Rowe.
Ashlyne had a few friends over for the night and we had a great time with a wiener roast and visiting at my sister, Judy's house. (Judy is my oldest sister and the grandma of Ashlyne).
I went to church Sunday morning and stayed for a Pastor Parish Meeting after the services. We have a young adult taking over the leader's position for the next three years. It is so nice to have someone so talented and willing to take the position when she has so many other obligations in her life. She will do a good job.
I spent most of the afternoon cooking for our Sunday night family meal. We had pork loin, scalloped potatoes, corn, peas and homemade rolls. For dessert I made hot fudge pudding cake. That is a favorite of Chads. The family present for the meal was me, Dwayne, Todd, April and Mike, Chad and his friend Anna and her little boy, Desmon. We had a nice evening visiting.