This morning before I went to work I stopped by Mom and Dad's. Dad had just fed the chickens and they were all eating and strutting about. They looked so pretty and fascinating to watch. Anyone that knows me knows I'm not much for animals, even though I grew up on a farm. They are just animals to me and as long as they leave me alone, that's the way I like it. (Be it dog, cat, cow, etc.) But this morning I really enjoyed watching the chickens eat and strut about as if bragging to their fellow mates. It reminded me of going to see Grandma and Grandpa Feeler when I was growing up. Each evening, Grandma would go out and make sure the chickens were in their coop. Whenever I hear a rooster crowing, I automatically relate that sound to being at Grandma's house. A lovely memory, as I loved my Grandma very much. I even lived with her for a couple weeks in 1974 after my Grandpa died. I wish now I would have taken more time to enjoy the privilege of being with my grandma and not being the teenager that I was, thinking about going places with my friends or just missing being at home. If I had ever voiced those feelings to Grandma she would have understood and told me that was normal. So, whenever I see or hear chickens it brings back fond memories of being at Grandma and Grandpa's. Even to this day, I sometimes dream about being at Grandma's house and I always seem to wake up with a peaceful feeling. What a legacy of love my Grandma left me (and all of her grand kids). She made each one of feel as if we were special. My cousin even wrote a song about her. I'll have to get a copy sometime and share the special words the song reveals about Grandma. I did not have the opportunity to know my Mom's parents. Grandma Williams died when my Mom was only ten years old and Grandpa Williams died a couple years before I was born. As a child, I don't remember feeling as if I was missing out on not knowing my other grandparents. It was just a fact of life. Now I can look back and realize how much more blessed my life would have been knowing them. So my feelings of melancholy at the beginning of the week are residing some now. I need to realize life is a series of ebbs and flows and you need to just be grateful for each day God gives you. I am extremely grateful for the family I've been blessed with.
The weekend was basically a time of reflection of my life, past and future. I try not to put much emphasis on age but occasionally the thought creeps in. I'm over the fifty year mark, have I made a difference in my children's life, have I made an impact on people I've met? I think if the first part of my life has passed this fast, how much faster the remainder of my life will go. This type of thinking causes much melancholy. Is the weather being so gloomy a cause of my negative thoughts or just a natural response to life changing and getting older. Do other people feel this way? Don't get me wrong, I love my life and basically would not change any aspect of it. It's just the approaching years and where I thought my life would be like. Dwayne and I would love to have grandchildren but our children have not found their life mate and made a commitment. I am glad they haven't made a commitment that they are not ready for. It would be so hard to have a grandchild torn in opposite directions if their parents were divorced or a child born to someone my kids aren't married to. I have seen this struggle with my own nieces and nephews and no matter how much everyone loves and cares for them, there is still pain at the loss of an intact family. I think it bothers Dwayne much more than me. He feels he's missing the opportunity of teaching his grand kids things. We do watch our great nieces and nephews often and our friend's little boys, Blake and Nathan. This helps to feel the void in our "biological grandparent timeline." LOL On a brighter note, my Mom fixed Sunday dinner once again. Even that makes me feel a sense of sadness. Don't get me wrong, I love that my Mom is still able to fix dinner for us but I also feel a sadness that my time with Mom and Dad gets shorter all the time. Most of the time, I cherish and treasure these times, but that sadness at becoming the next generation raises it's ugly head. And what right do I have to feel that time slipping away when I am so lucky and fortunate to have my parents still with me when so many people don't. We had a nice family meal last night. Dwayne, me, Todd, Mike and April had a good evening visiting and playing cards. The meal was nothing special, roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, cauliflower and custard pie. Overall, another weekend of special family times.
Saturday: Chad brought Desmon over to open his Christmas presents. He loves to help Chad work so Dwayne and I bought him a tool set. It is so cute, even has little work gloves. Uncle David bought him the little set of construction vehicles. He had to ask Chad about each one and if Chad had drove any of them. For a little kid, Desmon loves to work. He helps Chad cut and haul wood, work on the house, work with the mules, etc. He loves his "Chadley", as he calls him. That afternoon, Dwayne and Zach cut cedars out of the fence row and I did some spring cleaning. Sunday: I went to church and then to Mom's for Sunday dinner. It is so amazing that at age 80, she made homemade beef 'n noodles, rolls and alot of side dishes. I actually had one more for our Sunday evening supper, Todd. I had made meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, corn, peas and I cheated on dessert and fixed cinnamon rolls from a can. Overall, it was a relaxing weekend and enjoyed visiting with the kids.
Dad & Mom with Mules which I purchased for Dwayne: My Dad: I don't think trisky is a real word but when you are excited at the outcome of your father's surgery you run words together. Judy called Joe and told him the surgery was trisky! What she had meant to say was Dr. Kim said the surgery was very tricky and risky and she was so excited the words came out as one-trisky. I kind of like that word and Dad's surgery certainly was tricky/risky aka trisky! We are so fortunate to have such a fine surgeon as Dr. Kim at St. John's in Springfield. When Dad had his initial heart attack April 15th, 2008, Dr. Kim was his surgeon. When he started the procedure he found Dad's arteries were very damaged and he could not do a bypass and it was very risky to try to put in stents. Mom told him to do what he could and God would take of the rest. We were not given hardly any hope that Dad would make it through the procedure. But God had other plans!! Dr. Kim linked three stents together (essentially, not sure all the right medical terms) and opened up an artery. He was so amazed by this that he took our whole family into a room and showed us the visual pictures of how bad Dad's heart was blocked and how the artery was opened up with the stents. The artery was to make a C and Dad's artery was only open at the very top with no tail on it at all. Then he showed the pictures of how the stents opened up the artery to flow and form the C in his heart. A true miracle!! Dr. Kim was even totally blown away about it. And this wasn't the first miracle Dr. Kim (and God) performed that day. Dad was flown to St. John's at night on the 15th. We all arrived later around 10 p.m. We were not allowed to see Dad until the next morning. There was another family that arrived in the waiting room during the night. Their husband/father had a heart attack during the night and an agiogram/stents had been done when they got there. Around 8 a.m., we were allowed to see Dad. While in his room in ICU, a code blue went off in the room next to us and we found out it was the young father (42) that had come in during the night. His daughter (age 16) was in the hallway sobbing and said they were working on her dad. I stayed with her (her Mom and brother had gone to the cafeteria) and we prayed. I remember asking God to save her Dad and if he had to take my Dad that was okay, I had had many years with him and Dad had lived a long good life, was a Christian and knew he would go to heaven, but her father was so young, with a full life ahead of him. There is no way I wanted to lose my Dad and I know God doesn't bargain like that but I really felt she needed her Dad. Then her grandmother came out of her Dad's room and said, "We lost him." It was so sad! A horrible image of a family falling apart at such devistating news, I felt so bad for her and her family. We then learned Dad's doctor had performed her Dad's surgery during the night and we were concerned he would be exhausted and wanted a different surgeon but we didn't pursue it. Later in the day I saw this girl in the hallway and asked how they were and if they got all the arrangements made to move her Dad and she says, "He's alive!!" I don't know all the details that led up to them taking him to surgery and Dr. Kim performing bypass and saving his life but I do know the family had been told he had died in ICU. I hear of miracles and I thought I kind of believed in them but this miracle I saw and witnessed. It was totally awesome!! Not a word I use much but this was AWESOME!! Since Dr. Kim had done this man's surgery, it wasn't until around 3 p.m. they took Dad in for his, we were still nervous as to him being exhausted. I believe in God but I am not one to talk or witness to people (I should be but I fall short in this area). But I want to shout praises to God in saving my Dad's life and putting Dr. Kim as Dad's surgeon. (Dad did not have a doctor in Springfield at the time) And yesterday, once again God and Dr. Kim's skill were at work. Dr. Kim said the artery was very fragile and a risk to work on. But trisky prevailed and the surgery was a success. I am SO GRATEFUL for the blessing of my family and still having my parents alive and a big part of my life.
Here is how we communicate during the day: From April: To: Connie Elrod Subject: Gordoz Gordoz is moving by Taco Bell. Their not tearing down that building just gutting it!
Back to April: Subject: RE: Gordoz Date: Tue, 12 Jan 2010 15:31:46 -0600 Their………….. They’re not tearing down… (I like to correct her spelling)
That will be good for them as not many people know about them.
From April: Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 3:40 PM To: Connie Elrod Subject: RE: Gordoz
I think it used to be a clinic!
From Connie: Subject: RE: Gordoz Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 3:42 PM To: April Elrod
Oh! I used to work there!!! For Dr. Werth one day a week!!!! You were born while I was working there!! Wait, that isn’t right, I worked there at the time you were born. No, no, that isn’t right either. I only worked ONE DAY per week and Miss Hoity Toity had to be born on my only working day of the week!! So, I was employed by Dr. Werth when you were born but I had you at the hospital. Finally!! I got it right this time.
Words cannot even express how much I miss my Father-In-Law. Alot of talk is negative toward in-laws and I want to go on record as saying, I loved my Father-In-Law very much. We had a close relationship and I cherish my memories with him. Sadly, alot of our time spent together was doctor appointments, hospital stays, etc. We never lacked for anything to say and made the most out of trying times. Grandpa Andy came down on the Friday before his first stroke and we visited most of the afternoon. I look back on that day and our conversations as a treasure. Andy was a wonderful grandpa and treated his grandchildren equally, with the exception of April, his only granddaughter. He loved to tell her she was his favorite granddaughter. LOL We love and miss you tremendously, Grandpa!
January 12, 2008 This cute little girl is my great niece, daughter of my nephew, Rod Bexten. Her pictures remind me of when her daddy was little. What a character he was!! Happy Birthday, Kieren!!
January 16, 2008: What a handsome little guy Brighton is!! He is the son of my neice, Kayla and her husband, Anthony. We don't get to see him too often as they live far away. He is such a sweet natured little boy. Happy Birthday, Brighton!
Me, my cousin Esther, Wayne January 8th, 1948: My oldest brother, Wayne turned 62!! When I was a little girl, I idolized my big brother. He would sit for hours with me and we would play "farm" in the dirt area of our yard at our old house (which he now lives in). Wayne would put nails in the ground for fence posts and string from post to post for the wire. He would also make little grass bundles for our hay. What fun memories!! When we moved to our new house we had a huge clay dirt pile left from digging out the basement. On the back side, Wayne and Russ would carve out steps and we would climb to the top. After a rain, the steps would be gone and have to be done all over again. Wayne would come home from school and I would say, Big Strong Handsome Brother of Mine, would you please make me some new steps? Worked every time!! LOL Friday Evening: Kate fixed herself a birthday dinner. There was Kate, Tyler, Kensie, Judy, Joe, Ashlyne, Mom, Dad, Me, Dwayne and April. Kate fixed mostaccioli and a variety of side dishes. The mostaccioli was delicious. I'm letting Kate's secret out on the sauce, she added grape jelly to it. She remembered watching a movie years ago and the Italian Grandmother had put grape jelly in her sauce and it was their family secret. Some secrets are made to be broken!! After eating, we played dominoes. Had alot of fun. January 9th, 1969: My baby sister and me: Kate's 41st birthday. My family is just going to love me posting their ages!! When Katie was born, Wayne was in Vietnam. Mom so wanted Kate to be born on Wayne's 21st birthday, but Kate was having none of it!! She was born on the 9th about a half an hour after midnight. Even as a little girl, she did not want to share her birthday with Wayne. We were hoping for a little boy and he was going to be named Robert Archie (Robert after Grandpa Williams and Archie for our Dad and our Grandpa Feeler) and we would call him Robbie. Kate is like,"I am so glad I'm not a boy and have to have the name, Robbie!!" So instead of Robbie, we got Mary Kaye, whom we call Katie, Kate, Kaye, Mary Kaye, just about every version of her name except Mary. She went by Mary at school and even today if one of her classmates ask me about Mary, I have to think a minute as to who they are talking about. And as in every family, you think you're getting a boy or girl and whatever the child is, you love it right away. And boy did Kate have alot of people to love her! She was already an aunt when she was born as our sister, Judy had a little girl, Tammy, the previous May. They grew up as close as most sisters. I was almost 12 when Kate was born and I can remember people asking Mom if I was jealous of her. I thought, what are they talking about? Mom had had at least three miscarriages between me and Kate and I could not wait to have a little brother or sister. Today, I cannot imagine life without my little sis. She is one of my best friends and a constant source of family strength. Kate is enduring a difficult time in her life and I pray and wish a very good 41st year for her. Happy Birthday, Kate!! January 10th, 2005: Mariah Kay Wooldridge: As Katie missed Wayne's birthday by one day, her granddaughter did the same for her. Mariah Kay Wooldrige was born on the 10th of January to my niece, Kayla and Anthony Wooldridge. Mariah was a beautiful baby from the start. Kate was so glad to become a grandma or as Mariah calls her, Nana. Kayla and Anthony lived in Rolla the first months of Mariah's life but then moved to Anthony's hometown, Urbana, IL. We would so love for them to be closer but we enjoy the time we get to spend with them. Sunday: April, Mike and I went to church. After church, April and I stayed for Sarah Howard Rowden's baby shower and luncheon. Sarah received a variety of nice gifts for the baby. We had a good time visiting with everyone. After leaving the shower, we went to Mom and Dad's to visit as Mom had fixed a birthday dinner for Wayne and Kate. We played Mad Gab for awhile. My sister, Judy had the best time figuring out the sayings and it was funny just to watch her crack up laughing at the game. April fixed our Sunday evening meal and naturally the boys didn't show up. I am trying to not let it hurt my feelings that they don't come to my Sunday evening suppers as I'm trying to set a tradition for us to get together. I had planned it in the evening so the kids could all do their own thing all day, but so far the boys are not complying. Kind of ticks me off! Well, enough of my complaining; I am grateful that April and Mike are there and do not act as if it is a "chore". April fixed white chili, a different taste than we're used to in chili but still very good. I fixed chocolate pie for dessert. We played dominoes and had a nice evening together.
I had a visitor at work today that requested to see Connie about ordering a ton of chicken litter. Sheila sent him to my office. This guy comes in, hair in a pony tail, beard, mustache, grungy work clothes and asking about chicken litter. I told him he must have the wrong place as we only have pet food. He said, no, they told me to come to Black Gold and ask for Connie and that I could set him up an account to order chicken litter over the internet. I took him up to Sheila's office and asked her if she knew what he was talking about, he then again said he was told he could buy chicken litter here. I once again tell him he must be at the wrong place. Then he smiled and I thought, that smile looks kind of familiar. I go, Chris Brouk, is that you? Anyone that knows Chris knows he a bullshitter!! He loves playing pranks. I hadn't seen Chris in over ten years so it was good to see him again. I think my bosses wondered about me as I gave him a big hug after I figured out who he was. We then went back to my office and visited for almost a half an hour. It was good to see Chris again and catch up on life events. We very sadly remembered his kids, Adrian and Kyle and reminisced about their childhood. So the next time someone comes in and asks for off the wall items, I will be prepared and look for it to be Chris.
Kate rented the movie, Julie & Julia for our movie night and brought movie candy (hot tamales, malt balls, junior mints). April brought pizzas and we had a pizza fest before watching the movie. What started out as a sister's night, has now grown to include niece-in-laws, great nieces and nephews. Along with Judy, were her daughter-in-law, Billie, Troy's girlfriend, Missy, and Judy's grandchildren, Ashlyne, Zach and Elizabeth. It was also Kate, MacKensie, me and April. Quite a living room full!! (Dwayne decided to retreat to the basement). The movie was better than I expected it to be. With Julie blogging about Julia Child's cookbook reminded me of reading thepioneerwoman.com's blog and buying her cookbook. Actually, I have two of Ree Drummond's cookbooks. I had ordered one for April and one for me. The best present of all was April buying me the book for a Christmas present. April doesn't like to read, so for her to read Ree's blog and order the cookbook for me was very special. Kate had rented a movie for the kids to watch upstairs. For some reason, they wanted to stay and watch our "old lady" movie with us. It is a treasure for my family to live close by and we can get together occasionally without waiting for holidays.
Fortunately for me, that was not the case last week. I was going to the basement and as I first stepped down, I tripped on my pants leg and went tumbling ever after..... Literally!! I went end over end on the bottom steps and landed on my head on the concret floor. Luckily, I was only bruised and nothing broken. When Blake was over last week, April told him about me falling down the steps. He looked at her and said, "Well, April, you should have put up a gate and then Tonnie wouldn't have fell". So, I guess it's April's fault I fell down the steps.
New Years Eve: Nathan Nathan & Blake Nathan We stayed home and babysat for Shelley and Kenny Allen. We must be getting old, we had a good time just staying at home and watching the kids. The baby was very good(he hardly ever cries and laughs out loud and coos when you talk to him)and Blake kept us entertained. He has quite the imagination! Blake had us put his sleeping bag on my side of the bed and Nathan's play pen on Dwayne's side. He had everything planned out. My husband, bless his heart, got up with Nathan for the 2 a.m. feeding and I got up with him at 6 a.m. Dwayne always helped with our kids but to help out and change someone else's child is a great help. New Years Day: We played with the kids that morning until Kenny and Shelley got there. Blake had went in and straightened up his sleeping bag for the next day. He thought they were staying another night. When Kenny and Shelley got there he said, I thought we were spending the weekend. Guess we aren't too bad of babysitters if he wanted to stay longer. That afternoon, we went for a drive to look at the river and on over to Belle to visit Dwayne's cousin, Reba. We had a nice visit and caught up on the family news. Saturday: I spent the morning putting away Christmas decorations and cleaning. In the afternoon, I went to a childhood friend's daughter's wedding(try saying that out loud a few times, run on sentence galore). It was a beautiful wedding and the bride just glowed with happiness. That night, Dwayne and I went to Applebees. They were extremely busy, so the service was slow, but the food was good. We had a relaxing evening watching TV. Sunday: Dwayne and I went to Church, then picked up dinner at G & W. April and Mike were at the house when we got home, luckily, they had already ate as we only bought enough for the two of us. That evening for our family meal, we had April, Mike, Kate, Kensie, me and Dwayne. The boys had fixed a huge meal at Chad's house so they didn't come up. It was nice to have Kate and Kensie visit. We're hoping and praying for a good 2010 for Kate, she deserves it. I hope all had a great start to the new year.
We've changed some since 2008. We celebrated 35 years of marriage at our daughters wedding in September of 2012. We've added a family member, Desmon who lives with Chad. Desmon is now nine years old and a big party of our family. Our dream of becoming grandparents one day finally came true with the birth of April and Mike's baby boy, Cash Michael on October 12, 2013. We were blessed with a granddaughter, Iva Lorraine Holtmeyer, born June 3rd, 2016. We couldn't be happier.