It's a snowy Saturday in that no-man's land between Christmas and New Year's. I think of this week as an extended snow day.
Historically, it's a hard time to get hold of people for feature stories. Government entities take a break, and lots of people are off work due to end-of-year vacation time or their workplaces are closed.
It's kind of nice; a break in the action before Tuesday arrives and we're thrust, ready or not, into a new working year.
I like today. It's 1:30 p.m. and I'm still in my pajamas! It's cold and snowy outside and other than taking the dog out, there is no reason to leave the house. There's no reason, even, to put on real clothes, but I may. Or I may not.
What I will do when I finish this final 2017 post is to clock some time for my newspaper job. Several January projects involve getting a head start, and permission to work on the clock from home for a few hours will help me greet Tuesday better prepared to tackle January.
I don't do politics on social media. Sometimes I have to hog-tie my fingers, but I don't go there. I don't argue or preach or add to the divisiveness I see and feel around me. I have many friends and family, not to mention readers, acquaintances and colleagues whom I love, admire, respect and maybe even on occasion simply tolerate, who disagree mightily on such topics.
In the online political realm, I am Switzerland.
What I will share is my Christian faith in the Living Trinity, the three-in-one of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit -- the only hope for humanity.
When I review 2017, I think of moments. There is my career high of covering the presidential inauguration and women's march from the aspect of what it was like to be there. It was an intense few days full of experiences, then back to the hotel to write and transmit everything to quite a few Hoosier newspapers. I will treasure the experience for the rest of my life.
I am grateful for yet another year of this ride as a regional author. To every book club, social or literary club, church banquet and program organizer, library staffer and author fair organizer who sought me out in some way, I am in debt. Going into each year, I think perhaps the ride is about over. So far, the surprise is that it hasn't been. So if you need a program or presentation or speaker, let me know at email@example.com.
There are many friends and author friends to thank for your help. I think of how Janis Thornton showed up at the Fishers Library last March simply to support me in my program on self-publishing, and how she would like to work with me further in developing a workshop-styled program on the topic. That same night, son Sam and DIL Allison surprised me by arriving at the end of the program to help me carry everything to the car and deliver a refreshing hot tea!
I think of Sandy Moore and our mutual support society with marketing ideas and cluing each other in on opportunities. There is Annette Goggin who I only got to know through the author ride, but who I think of as a friend and admire greatly. Plus, I am grateful for her asking me to her old-fashioned hymn sing! I loved it! (Let's do it again?)
I thank those -- and I'm thinking of writer friend Cheryl Bennett -- who posted reviews of my second book on Goodreads and Amazon. And I am grateful for the number of people I don't know whose reviews pop up.
Oh, the list above goes on and on to include, but not limited to Mary Wilkinson, my bestie Gay Kirkton, her parents, my boss Katie Clontz, and I know I am in trouble because I'm leaving out some people but I'm trying to hurry this along!
Other precious moments include the trip Gay and I took to Galena, Illinois, and to Miss Effie's flower farm near Donahue, Iowa, and the new friend I have now in Cathy, the entrepreneur and Gay's college friend who founded the flower farm and crafts-filled Summer Kitchen there.
I think of walking with John and Debby Williams and loved ones in their fight against Cystic Fibrosis.
I am surrounded by inspiring, creative, resourceful, fierce, sweet, empowered, wonderful women!
Brian and I took a pretty-much perfect trip to D.C. in September and by writing ahead for tickets and clearance, got insider looks inside The White House, Congress, Capitol, Pentagon and FBI Building. The Newseum was outstanding, as was hearing a lecture in the Supreme Court courtroom.
I'm so grateful to Kids at Heart Publisher Shelley Davis for accepting my books into her bookshop at the Warm Glow Candle Co. complex.
I'm grateful to my husband for his love and support. Grateful to spend time with extended family -- wonderful trips visiting Tim and Jeannie in Liberty, Brian's annual trip to see his brother and SIL Steve and Linda in Florida, hosting a master's degree grad party for our DIL Allison, attending a great-niece's wedding and a great-great niece's birthday party. I think of seeing our friend Coach Rick's football team, Trine University, win a playoff game in its undefeated-season year.
I think of the Midlife Mom sisters of Ovid Community Church, and the Bible Study Fellowship folks who help guide as the Holy Scriptures come alive to me each time I'm in them. I. think of my sons Sam and Ben and wonderful daughter-in-law Allison. Oh, and I'm grateful that Brian's McClellan clan continues to get together every Fourth of July weekend and for cousin Beth for starting a periodic cousins get-together.
I think of everyone who said yes when I asked if I could write about some aspect of their lives. I think of Steve Dicken, the English teacher I wish I had had in school, and of whom I am proud to have as a writing colleague now. I think of our dear friend Barb Clark. I think of my encourager and confidante Debbie McCray.
I have probably left out so much about this year that brought joy and sweetness. Life is short. We have to embrace every opportunity, love one another, care about one another. And if you are a writer, you probably have to write about it all.
I plan to keep doing just that. So bring it on! 2018, what do you have for me? Thank you God, for another year on this planet!
Happy New Year to you, whomever and wherever you are reading this.
Following is my Dec. 3 New Castle Courier-Times column. I’m still thinking about ornaments today as I prepare a new Christmas program for tomorrow night's Lilac Literary Club in Hancock County. It’s about how our ornaments tell the stories of our lives.
Thirty-one years ago, I couldn’t wait to place baby Sam’s first ornament on our Christmas tree.
As the years passed, new ornaments were purchased annually first for Sam, then also for Ben when he came along. At first I did the choosing, picking out Disney and bear decorations, but as the boys got old enough to care, they got to choose their own.
It became a much-anticipated Christmas tradition to take them to the Hallmark store and select their ornaments. As the “senior” son, Sam got first dibs, and usually selected the year’s cool Batman or sports hero. Along the way came orbs depicting trends such as video games or the hot sports figure of the year.
There were athletes with staying power such as Peyton Manning, and ones who are forgotten footnotes in old box scores. There were action figures such as Spider-man and Lego creations such as a fireplace with Santa appearing to be made from them.
Several years ago, I stopped putting the collection on the big family Christmas tree. These were during the years that the boys were in their late teens and early 20s. The boys had lost their thrill of selecting new ornaments and moved on in their interests. It seemed the time for childhood ornaments had passed.
It’s funny what a few years out of circulation will do to a collection.
Our younger son, Ben, is 26 now, and this is the first Christmas he’s truly been out on his own without a roommate. On Thanksgiving, he was anxious to get back to his apartment and have Brian and I help him put up his own tree.
His lights worked great on the shimmering white tree that came intact from his small patio storage closet. But the problem was, he had no actual ornaments.
So, I offered up his childhood Hallmark ones. I don’t know which of us was more delighted – Ben over the idea of the nostalgic decorations, or me over seeing his delight.
That weekend he came home and went through the pile of Superheroes and athletes, cars and novelty items, all created with the special charm of Hallmark, in ornament form.
One by one we looked them over and he separated his stash from his brother’s and home he went with them. Later that evening, he sent us a photo and video of his decorated tree.
I had always wondered what would become of the boys’ ornaments and if they would ever want them.
I’m happy to see them enjoyed anew in their new home on their new tree – with their old boy.
Brian has always enjoyed Halloween. While he doesn’t do anything with the Christmas tree other than tell me if it is leaning to one side (a particular pet peeve of his), and yes, tell me it’s pretty once it’s all decked out, he is the one who carves our pumpkins.
At this stage in the game of life, I’d be content to plug in a fake one and carry on, but not him. He always makes a production of selecting an annual pumpkin or two and carving them.
I came across this photo of him with a Parke County pumpkin 40 years ago. This was taken in his parents’ Rockville, Indiana basement the first weekend I met them.
We had been to the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival where he snagged a pumpkin (I probably got one too but don’t remember that). It was my 19th birthday weekend and Brian’s mother surprised me with a gift, a new wallet.
I’m pretty sure she made pumpkin pie. Boy, she could bake pies! In the fall there were always pumpkin pies on her counter top.
I have fond memories of trick-or-treating as a kid, throwing "spook-house" basement parties for the neighbor kids in my family's rustic basement, canvassing the neighboring farms for Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF and then going to the church basement for a party. And who can forget the full-sized chocolate bars out of Philomath?
I'm seeing a trend here ... Halloween and basements.
Then came the years of our boys and their Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. This is my favorite Halloween photo of Sam and Ben. It's actually one of my all-time favorite pictures of them period.
Last year, Brian had a little issue with his pumpkin. He carved it and set it on the porch. I wasn't paying much attention and didn't connect the dots when he asked if we had any Duct Tape. I told him we did and asked why.
"Oh, I probably won't need it," he hedged. I still didn't think anything of it.
Until the next day.
His carved pumpkin had Duct Tape wrapped around its head.
"I cut his nose off," Brian confessed.
I roared with laughter.
"It won't even show when the lights are out," he insisted.
To my surprise, he was right. The pumpkin looked just fine -- in the dark.
Here's this year's duo, carved yesterday while I was at work. Pretty cute.
What are your special Oct. 31 memories?
As for leaf color, I can’t say this October – so far – is a ringer. But it’s been a beautiful week all the same. Brian and I usually fly pretty low-key with birthday and anniversary celebrations, but this week we’ve been extra blessed!
On Tuesday, my boss Katie surprised me with a cake, balloon, and card signed by everyone in the building, and a beautiful bouquet of seasonal flowers.
Here it is Saturday and the flowers are just as pretty today as they were several days ago.
Yesterday, Lisa Perry, our newspaper editor who preceded Katie, was in town for her annual community walk through New Castle highlighting such stories as that of the 104-year-old unsolved mystery of Catherine Winters, a little girl who famously has never been found, making her the oldest-known unsolved child disappearance in Indiana history, along with some other tales.
Lisa and her late mother, Charlene Perry, have published books and written extensively about Catherine. But before her annual stroll through town, she took time to have lunch with her cronies at the paper.
Last night, Sam and Allison hosted an anniversary dinner honoring her grandmother Jo, her parents, John and Carla, and Brian and me as well as themselves. ALL of us got married the same October weekend. Allison’s grandmother and late grandfather were married 66 years ago tomorrow, her parents 34 years tomorrow, and Sam and Allison will celebrate five years tomorrow – all married in the same downtown Indianapolis church! For Brian and me, today is our 39th wedding anniversary. My brother Tim and wife Jeannie got married 46 years ago yesterday.
Allison’s brother and his wife, Mike and Lauren, as well as Ben joined us and it was a most pleasant evening featuring a home-cooked meal by Sam and Allison and plenty of talking and watching the MLB playoffs.
Allison surprised me with a tiny birthday cake – a little bigger than cupcake-sized, and I wish I had taken a photo! It was adorable. And, they all sang “Happy Birthday.” A sweet night.
Do you ever have something random happen that makes you feel like “an adult in the room?” This week for me it’s new “adult” table lamps for our bedroom night stands.
For my birthday and our anniversary, Brian and I went shopping for night-stand lamps. In late spring we bought a new bedroom suit, our first since 1983. We thought it was time. Have you ever wondered why these sets only come with one night stand? I have! This time we bought an extra.
I didn’t mention that I would like matching new lights for the stands. I figured all summer that when Brian asked what I wanted for my birthday, I’d have that answer in my back pocket.
I don’t know what style they are, or what era. I just know that we agreed that we like them, they are large and give out good light. We both spend a lot of time in our bedroom watching TV, reading, or working on the computer or projects. They work!
So today, another beautiful day. The week ahead is supposed to be seasonably chilly and maybe blustery too. After we get our grocery shopping done, we’re going to put away the porch furniture and tidy things up for the fall. I’m going to cut down our ornamental grasses out front and toss the summer plants. If we had hatches, I’d batten them down.
As for this trio of trees in our back yard, I tend to view them as a seasonal barometer. I’ve photographed them when they were drenched with ice and snow, making a crystal winter-scape, and when they were drenched in white blossoms. But in all the 19 years we’ve lived here, these trees have never done what they are doing now. They are covered in red berries! They are serving as bird feeders to happy birds who come and go and enjoy these fruits. One large flock of birds even happily stopped by as though they were visiting a birdie Golden Coral. They ate and were in the air again.
Usually the leaves on these trees are long gone by now. Sometimes the leaves even fall in the summer. But this year, this …
What a beautiful October surprise.
Say what you will about love and marriage, but most girls dream of meeting Mr. Right. In my great-niece Nicki Barrett's case, make that Mr. Wright. As of 4:30 p.m. Saturday, she became Mrs. Wright.
The two are special to me because Nicki is a blood relative (I'm her mother Marlene Thompson's aunt, as in the sister of Marlene's late brother, David Jobe). But there's another reason they are special. They live in and are remodeling the home where I grew up on the old Jobe family homestead in Union County. Yes, it's on Jobe Road. That's about as down-home-from-the-heart as it gets. And I am delighted to see this couple make their home there.
The two had Brian, my brother Tim, and sister-in-law Jeannie, and me out last October to show us their progress. I blogged about it on Oct. 15, 2016.
Their talents aren't limited to remodeling an old farmhouse. They also prepared the food for their wedding reception (including the beautiful cakes), made the decorations and Nicki even crafted the boutonnieres and bridal bouquets. It was all country, all the way.
The site is a race-horse training grounds deep in the countryside of Fayette County around Waterloo. Surprisingly, there had never been a wedding on the property before, but it was an ideal venue for this energetic couple.
I thought the jockey-inspired men's attire was a perfect touch for the setting, don't you?
In fact, you might say that everything was just exactly Wright.
All the best to you both.
If it’s August, we might be moving someone somewhere.
I figure from 2005 until now, we’ve relocated one or the other of our two sons 10 times. I could be off one or two moves, but who’s counting?
There were the college moves, then the apartment ones, and one into Sam and Allison’s home -- all in the eighth month of the year. The hottest month of the year.
Last August no one moved as Ben decided he’d do one more year where he was. A reprieve!
But then came summer 2017 and plans to find a different apartment. What’s different this time is that there’s no roomie. It’s his own place.
We put in a long day over the weekend, blessed with older son, Sam and wife Allison helping with the heavy lifting. There were a variety of challenges, as there are for all moves, but this one had a warm-up round of lugging Ben’s incredibly heavy loveseat up the stairs and pivoting into his new apartment.
Then the moment of truth came when the even heavier couch went up. It took a couple of tries before the four of them gave it the air time it needed to clear the railings and make it upstairs. Things looked almost too scary for me to even watch, but finally it arrived to the second floor with furniture, railing and people all intact. Thank you, Lord! Things were certainly looking iffy for a while there.
The guys are already talking about having some of their Thursday-night football gatherings at Ben’s place. Even though he’s been out of the nest for a while, this move feels like a new start in a new way.
Of course, Brian and I have had our own share of summer moves. The only times we’ve ever moved, in fact, were once in June and the other times in July. Plenty of heat and sweat to go around then, too.
What about you? What months did you move? Have you moved your share of kids into new digs in August?
Today we celebrated a family milestone. Our daughter-in-law Allison received her master's degree in special education from Ball State University. Interestingly enough, Allison's sister-in-law, Lauren, got her master's degree from Purdue University this spring to become a nurse practitioner.
We're honored that Allison, Sam, Allison's Grandma Jo Jo, parents John and Carla and brother and sister-in-law Michael and Lauren allowed Brian, Ben, and I to host a luncheon in Allison's honor following the morning ceremony.
It was an early Saturday morning. The ceremony started at 10, but my morning began at 4:30 when yet another night-time thunderstorm woke me up. I fretted that we would lose electricity and in the process create problems for the pulled pork, salads and full ice basket that were ready for the luncheon -- not to mention for my unwashed hair! Since there was no way I could be seen in public without decent hair, I washed it quickly during the storm and set it in rollers.
Of course with all the commotion going on, Reggie got up to potty in the storm, and then we bunked on the couch for a couple hours. I must have fallen deeply asleep. I don't know if it was the rollers affecting my brain, but I had some terrible dreams, something unusual for me. At least it was a relief to wake up and find they were FAKE DREAMS. No REAL NEWS there. Whew! And the storm had passed.
Ben arrived on time and we were out the door a little after 8. Since we had plenty of time, Ben requested that we drive around to look over his college stomping grounds, including a cruise past the Light Street house he and three friends rented for two years. How is it that he's been out of college four years already? How quickly those years passed, as well as the four after them.
We caught up with Sam and the Parents at Worthen Arena where we found a good stretch of seating. It wasn't long before we spotted Allison.
A side note because there are a lot of teachers in our world. Of the summer graduates at this university known for educating teachers, guess how many undergraduate educators received their degrees today? Would you believe seven? What will be the ramifications ahead for Hoosier schools with a figure so low?
After the ceremony, a quick stop for a photo op with the new grad and her fan club.
Back at the ranch ... a late lunch.
Brian's family contains a number of career educators, besides himself with 40 years in the classroom and office under his belt. We have retired educators brother Steve and sister-in-law Linda Cronk. There were also his Great-Aunts Lee and Glad. And, we have numerous friends who either worked or still work in the trenches.
An antique teacher's-desk bell, which looks right out of Little House on the Prairie, has come down in our family. It seemed this was the perfect occasion to hand it off to the next generation, so Brian presented it to Allison.
I had planned for a while on a Ball-jar theme, ordering flowers from a local grower who sells them at the Pendleton Farmer's Market. Just a couple days ago I added a school theme, largely due to remembering that we had a nice stash of textbooks of more than a century vintage from my side of the family. One belonging to my Grandpa Roscoe Jobe contains his signature and is dated 1903 with an earlier copyright. We thought Allison might enjoy those books and passed them down.
Sam's great-grandfather Roscoe Jobe used this book in 1903. When picking up the cake yesterday, I noticed the abundance of school supplies. So I snagged a few, wrapped them, and just for fun, drew for door prizes of giant erasers, glue, Crayons and a duo of peanut butter and jelly.
It was a lovely day. Congratulations again, Allison!
Just the other day I posted on Facebook that my two best tips for local authors are to 1. Don't leave home without them (books), and 2. Always look for the blessing in any book related situation, because there is always at least one.
Yesterday afternoon I gave a talk to the Widowed Persons social group in Richmond. There were 22 present, and almost all of them took part in my audience-participation activity. One thing that surprised me was that almost half of of the attendees were men. I think it's great that the fellas attend and take part. I guess it was a false stereotype on my part that it would mostly be women present. The group has been directed for 13 years by Edna Mikesell, and it is clearly her joy to lead.
So once the program ended, and it was time for anyone interested to pick up a signed book or stop by to chat, the lady above, Cindy, decided to purchase both books. She told me that she knew some folks in Liberty, and named the Brock family. I told her I have a cousin named Carol Brock. Carol's mom and mine were sisters.
Cindy couldn't believe it. "You're a Jobe?" she asked not far into the next layer of genealogy. She had no idea! To shorten the story, let's leave it that her grandmother, Mary, and my mother, Martha, were sisters. So that makes us distant cousins. It was a fun surprise we celebrated with a selfie and agreed to friend each other on Facebook.
After connecting with a relative, I decided to look around the Richmond Mall. The last time I visited there was probably 1981, the year we moved away from the area. But before that, I grew up with this the only mall we visited: For clothes, and appliances, for cloth to make 4-H clothes, for Christmas gifts.
You could have fooled me because it had changed so completely that I never would have recognized it had I not known where I was. One big change is the mall's anchor store, Dillard's. I had never been to a Dillard's! I had seen the store advertised in, I believe, southern-style magazines. Friend Sandy, who dresses so great, has referenced Dillard's several times.
So I went in to see what the fuss is about. I loved the place. The clothes called my name, and so did the attractive housewares. But what I really needed were, umm, undergarments. You know, umm, bras.
I walked around the nice umm, foundations department, lost in a sea of beige and black and aqua and every other color of underthings. This is the kind of department that leaves me frustrated, and maybe that is exactly why I don't buy new, umm, underthings very often.
The clerk was friendly and asked if I needed help. So I thought for a minute. Yes! Yes, indeed I do need help. I asked if I could be measured for the right bra size. My friend had done this very thing several years ago in Marshall Field's in Chicago, but I had never taken the plunge.
Maybe it was a combination of the lovely department store, or the fact that I didn't need to rush home, or that my own bra's wire was stabbing me in the back. No, make that side!
Being measured for a bra size is a discreet process, and within moments I learned why my bras didn't fit like gloves. Not only were they old and had spent too many rounds in the washer and dryer when they should have been hand-washed and hung up to dry, but they were the wrong cup size, along with the wrong width! Who knew?
When she brought me a suggested bra, to try on for confirmation of size and adjustment, I knew that I had been trying to fit the girls into a Pinto, and my Porsche had just arrived!
It fit so well I wore it home ... and bought two more.
Then today, I had what I figured would be another potentially tough mission. In March, we bought Ben a birthday suit. Ha! I wonder how often people get birthday suits for their birthdays. A very nice Macy's at Castleton employee, Anita, who specializes in men's clothing, helped us out and fitted Ben for the new ensemble..
Well, Sunday he brought home the pants part of the suit. There was a rip in the back, and not in the seam, either. He didn't think he snagged it on anything. The tear is a mystery and even a fantastic seamstress couldn't fit it to look right. I decided to take the pants back to the store and see if there was any kind of discount or provision to be made.
No offense to any other clerk, but I didn't want them. I only wanted Anita. I spotted her and she asked if she could help me! Bingo! She even remembered me! I told her that the suit is beautiful and that Ben even landed a new job in it. However, we had a problem. She took a look at it, and said we could swap them out for another pair. She found the right size and color, did the paperwork, and after I thanked her and took a picture of her holding the new pants and giving the thumbs up to text Ben, I walked out one happy customer.
So if you need a new suit or help in men's clothing, go see Anita. Tell her I sent you.
Then in Penney's, on my way to the car, I happened upon a table of capris in exactly the style I like, with plenty of color choices and my size available. Hot dog! They were on sale for $17.99 each! I picked up two pair. But at the register, my two capris rang up to $99! I told the clerk that wasn't right. She did some computer work and the total came to $28 and change. I told her that still wasn't right, and that I would owe more. She repeated the price of $28 and change!
Three great shopping experiences in a row.
Now I need to stay out of the stores for a while!
Donna Cronk / New Castle Courier-Times photos // Jack Claborn visits with National Road Yard Sale Founder and Chairperson Patricia McDaniel as they prepare for the annual 800-plus-mile yard sale, May 31-June 4. Treasures, bargains and ... goats. Pat will be featured in a 7:30 a.m. segment Wednesday morning on Fox 59-Indianapolis TV.
Every year, along our nation's first cross-country route, U.S. 40, historically called The National Road, a continuous yard sale takes place on farms, at homes, businesses and in pop-up locations. This goes on for more than 800 miles, from Baltimore, Maryland, to St. Louis. This year it runs May 31-June 4. Jump on anywhere. While previewing the sale, I became inspired to write this column, which ran Sunday in the New Castle Courier-Times.
When you’ve been married as long as I have, there are certain things you don’t discuss. For example, goats.
Brian doesn’t understand what I see in a goat. He thinks they are stinky and without purpose. He doesn’t find them humorous or interesting in any way.
I happen to love goats, and can easily overlook any perceived flaws. I think they are funny and I am interested in how they seem to look at life differently than the other farm animals, let alone the humans.
If we drove by a pasture with a goat standing on the roof of a shed or in any other unexpected place on the property, you would find me laughing and craning my neck for an extended look. You would find Brian annoyed not only by the goat, but at my amusement.
It’s a topic on which we agree to disagree.
Maybe it’s a rural thing, because quite out of the blue, and without realizing that goats were a topic of dispute in my home, a friend from my hometown said that her requirement for buying a vehicle is that it is, and I quote, “big enough to haul a goat.”
I do know that I will never own a live goat. Never mind that it would be highly inappropriate and probably even a zoning violation to have one in the subdivision where we live. But also, I respect Brian’s feelings, however misguided they may be, about this topic.
I’m sure he would say he has shown a good measure of tolerance by never complaining about my collection of more than 100 Christmas sheep ornaments. (I’ve never seen a goat ornament. Wonder why.) He doesn’t understand the sheep collection, or why I like them so much, either, but he doesn’t make it an issue. We choose our battles.
It’s the same way, I suppose, that I tolerate the thick smears of peanut butter he leaves on table knives, the butter able to stick to the blades regardless of a run through the dishwasher, or the way he has been known to leave empty containers in the pantry or fridge. I don’t say a word. Well, mostly I don’t.
So I found myself in a marital quandary.
When interviewing Jack Claborn about his barnyard folk art, which includes huge, colorful chickens and round, life-size pigs, I mentally gasped when my eyes fell on the whimsical goat. Perfect!
I don’t know what the going price is for a real goat, but for one that’s a metal piece of folk art made in Texas, it’s $50.
What would Brian say if I texted him that I had just bought a goat for $50? Surely when he got home and saw that the animal grazed silently in the landscape and would require no feed, and there was no chance it would randomly appear on top of a car or stray into the neighbors’ garden, he would be relieved.
But that wouldn’t be the only option. Since he sees no charm in a real goat, it’s highly unlikely that a metal one would provide it.
My mind fought itself. Oh, I wanted that metal goat! What an unusual nod to my rural heritage it would be in the middle of our landscaping. It would be like a perfectly acceptable gazing ball ir bird bath – only not.
No one else would have a metal goat. Perhaps it would become a conversation piece. “The Cronks? Oh yeah, the ones with the garden goat.”
I would laugh at such a reference. Brian would not.
To my way of thinking, not getting my goat is our loss.
To Brian’s, well, let's just say he'd rather have the cash.
Donna Cronk is Neighbors Editor of The Courier-Times and edits the quarterly her magazine for women. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 765-575-4657. In her free time she enjoys speaking engagements encouraging people to live their dreams.
Going into last weekend I wondered how I would get everything done. Ever have a few-days period like that? Everything planned was good, but it was all a matter of timing to pull off.
We couldn’t get together with our daughter-in-law Allison on her birthday, so we had a belated celebration. When Brian reminded me that his brother planned to spend Friday night with us as a stop en route to a convention, it seemed the perfect time to have the kids in and call it a dinner party!
We all looked forward to it.
I can’t remember the last time I baked a birthday cake. Usually we get one at the grocery store or maybe an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen, but there was something nice about digging out the round cake pans and turning on the oven, going old school.
The party was fun, complete with a funny little game we made up (Brian and Steve helped me with the questions) called How Well Do You Know Allison? I learned that my DIL and I share our favorite color (blue) as well as our least favorite color (orange).
After Sam and Allison went home at 11, I went to bed, Steve went to bed, but Brian and Ben stayed up and watched basketball until 2 a.m. Takes me back to the days when we visited Brian’s folks in Rockville and Brian and his dad stayed up late after the rest of us called it a night.
Steve was up early Saturday to drink coffee with Brian before Steve left for his Kiwanis district meeting. I headed out soon after for the inaugural Alpha Tau Chapter of Tri Kappa’s Book & Author Luncheon.
Here’s my little secret. Because I felt the need to tweak and practice my 10-minute speech, I left the house early enough to pull over at my little "speech staging area" in a remote country church parking lot. I’ve stopped there, at Soul Harbor, a few times to quietly sit in the car and read a presentation aloud without prying eyes or people looking funny at the crazy woman talking to herself.
I find that having something on paper is quite different from speaking the words aloud, and so I try to run through speeches verbally several times before presenting them.
The day was, at least by all the accounts I heard, a huge hit! About 140 gathered for the fundraiser luncheon and to hear brief talks from each of the six local authors featured. I know that I left there inspired by what each had to say.
I was especially intrigued to hear local florist Teresa Southerland speak about how she has gotten gigs from The Smithsonian writing scientific copy for children’s booklets and pamphlets.
It’s encouraging to hear that unexpected opportunities abound out there beyond our own communities. She does a great job.
I did double duty, taking some photos at the event and then going back to the office to upload for the newspaper.
Sunday I had to be at church before the first service as it was my rotation to work the information desk. Our small life group also was tapped to prepare and serve the welcome lunch and we were invited to stay for the meal. It all went together so smoothly!
We were prepared to do clean up but told there was a crew for that so we got to leave and enjoy the afternoon before it was time to gather for our evening life group meeting. Brian and I even had time to get our weekly grocery shopping done, a surprise that I didn’t think we’d get done over the busy weekend.
It was a fulfilling three days to have so much planned but also to see it all unfold in positive ways. Missions accomplished!
TOP left: Chatting at the Alpha Tau Chapter of Tri Kappa luncheon.
TOP, right: Fruit-flavored water has appeal.
CENTER, left: The meal is served.
CENTER, right: Ruth Ann and Dick Willis look over some of Teresa Southerland's educational materials. She is a local florist and was commissioned by The Smithsonian.
BOTTOM, left: Citrus and floral water.
BOTTOM right: Our daughter-in-law Allison blowing out her birthday candles.