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A casual blog highlighting my life with kids, grandkids and kitties...Also an avenue to show some items from my etsy shops.

**Please note..The other half of my life is dovoted to helping feral and free roaming cats in Walnut and the surrounding areas. You can learn more and follow our activites there at Walnut Iowa's Feral Cat Program! **

Friday, September 12, 2008

Too Good Not to Post

David V. Fox
This was taken in summer of 2006, the last time my father would wear his army uniform and his final salute to our flag!

I hope you will indulge me today and take the time to read sister, Kris sent it. Of course it reminds me of my parents. I laughed a little and cried a little, and ended with a very warm and cozy feeling.

This is a wonderful piece by Michael Gartner, editor of newspapers large and small and president of NBC News. In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. It is well worth reading, and a few good chuckles are guaranteed.

My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car.

He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

'In those days,' he told me when he was in his 90s, 'to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it.'

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty woman, chimed in:
'Oh, bull----!' she said. 'He hit a horse.'

'Well,' my father said, 'there was that, too.'

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford -- but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines, Iowa, would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we'd ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. 'No one in the family drives,' my mother would explain, and that was that.

But, sometimes , my father would say, 'But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we'll get one.' It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16 first.

But, sure enough , my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown.

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn't drive, it more or less became my brother's car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it didn't make sense to my mother.

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father's idea. 'Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?' I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage.

(Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin's Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home.

If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests 'Father Fast' and 'Father Slow.'

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: 'The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored.'

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, 'Do you want to know the secret of a long life?'

'I guess so,' I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

'No left turns,' he said.

'What?' I asked.

'No left turns,' he repeated. 'Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic.

As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn.'

'What?' I said again.

'No left turns,' he said. 'Think about it. Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot safer. So we always make three rights.'

'You're kidding!' I said, and I turned to my mother for support. 'No,' she said, 'your father is right. We make three rights. It works.' But then she added: 'Except when your father loses count.'

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.

'Loses count?' I asked.

'Yes,' my father admitted, 'that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again.'

I couldn't resist. 'Do you ever go for 11?' I asked.

'No,' he said ' If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week.'

My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily - - he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising -- and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, 'You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred.' At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, 'You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer.'

'You're probably right,' I said.

'Why would you say that?' He countered, somewhat irritated.

'Because you're 102 years old,' I said.

'Yes,' he said, 'You're right.' He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night.

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy , he said:

'I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet.'

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:

'I want you to know,' he said, clearly and lucidly, 'that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this Earth could ever have.'

A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.

I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life, or because he quit taking left turns.

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about those who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.'

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Thursday, September 11, 2008


Obama said it " I think I have somewhat of an unfair advantage." And that he did. Having the forum at his college was the first unfair advantage. I'm sure most everyone there was told not to applaud either candidate, but he got some... 2nd advantage was that he got to go second, most of the questions were the same and as was stated by the commentator, they were not sequestered, therefore, Obama had time to pose his responses. Many of the responses were, in fact quite similar. Some of his responses are causing me to think a LOT. He said "we will make sure people serve". Scary. How do you make them serve? A draft? or something like that? If people don't have the patriotic desire in their heart to serve, then it wont be genuine. I serve in my community, not because someone is making me. If that were the case, I know I would feel like rebelling. I serve because I want to. I love my community and want to see it be and become the best it can be. Two of my sons serve in the Military, not because they have to, but because they want to. He went on to say that he would not draft (oh good) but that he would inspire them to serve. Isn't that what Pres. Bush has been doing ( or attempting to do) especially since 9/11? Sen. Obama also talked about the GI Bill and how his grandfather benefited from it after ww2. He wants to restore it. I'm pretty sure the GI Bill is still around, better than ever. He spoke of putting civilians to work in service" to our country. That some folks, like engineers etc would work on the government payroll, but wouldn't be military. We have that...everywhere....Obama was allowed to answer an Internet question, which was not offered to Sen McCain. Obama, being 2nd was asked to respond to answers by Sen. McCain...this didn't seem fair. Am I wrong or did Sen Obama get more time than Sen McCain...hometown advantage...all in all it really told me nothing new...other than they both think we should I think I will go shopping....and then get ready for the debates. I really hate getting polictial on my blog, but I had to express my opinion.


Don't give in to the temptation to set an ironing pad and an iron next to your sewing machine. This is so convenient, but bad for you! Set your ironing board on the other side of the room and GET UP and walk over to it to press your pieces as you sew. Sitting at that machine, will do a big number on your back and neck anyway. Why not get up, stretch and do a little walking. Having the ironing board AWAY from the sewing machine will force some movement.

IT'S RAINING TODAY -Fitting for 9/11

Hello everyone... We have a very rainy and nasty day today. Perhaps its fitting since this is the anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. I hope all will reflect on that horrible event and pray to God that something like that never happens again. President Bush gets a lot of bad rap, but I feel he has protected us against other attacks that would have been eminent if he hadn't deployed our young men and women into service over there. I have two sons serving in our Military, one in Iraq and one on his way to Japan. I am a very supportive Navy/Army Mom, so don't get me started! Wear the red white and blue, hang your flag, tell a soldier you appreciate his service, pray! And most of all TRUST the leadership in this country. God, the creator put the kings on their thrones, but He will reign as King of King and Lord of Lords(Rev 19:16).

I want to quilt on my machine today, but the light isn't the greatest, so I will wait to see if the sun comes out. I have a quilt all loaded and ready to go! I hope it does, clear up even tho we are in desperate need of moisture. Its days like this that make wish I had the "oomph "to go bake some cookies...not really, that was a joke. It really is days like this that make me want to sleep! ha! But a good sewing day and I am on my way to the attic to spend the day with some log cabin strips!

I got an email from my Navy son today. He sounds good. He is being rewarded with 3 days off for working hard. He wonders why everyone doesn't just work hard, because it is the right thing to do. 3 days off will feel good to him, I'm sure. I'm so proud of him. I miss him.

All the talk these days is about re-cycling and "going green". How about making your own greeting/ note cards? You can purchase a pack of 100 invitation sized envelopes and card stock quite inexpensively. Cut the card stock in half and fold to make your card. Now find some fun fabric in your stash that you can "fussy cut". Press some wonder under on the back of the fabric, fussy cut out the shapes and iron them onto your card stock. Voile! Inexpensive and fun cards that can be used for birthday, anniversary...or just a note to say "HI".

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oh My Goodness I'm in a Time Warp!

This fine specimen of a record album is just one of about 180 I took photos of this past weekend, while in San Antonio. My stepmom wants to sell them to a dealer who will probably give her 50cents a piece for them. Me, in my stupidity suggested she try to get a little more out of them by putting them on ebay. Fun... So now I set myself up for another bunch of work.

It was fun going through the albums tho. Seeing what my father enjoyed made me feel closer to him somehow. I remember seeing these albums at their house for as far back as I can remember. I remember listening to the "party" albums when they were out for the evening (remember Krissy?). We felt so naughty! All those party albums are still in the stack and are most likely pretty mild.

It seems very strange to be slowly going thru his things and giving them away, selling them and otherwise clearing them out. It makes me feel funny, yet I know it's necessary. Its all part of letting go and moving on. Never easy.


If you have fabric that you just wish was a little darker, try using leftover coffee or make some tea! Just put your pieces in it, let it sit til it appears a little bit darker than you want. Rinse out, let dry and use! As soon as you finish the quilt and wash it, any extra residue from the coffee or tea will be removed. Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Introducing two of our newest "warriors" in the United States Airforce. Andrew (on the right) and Devin graduated last Friday from boot camp and will now go on to their next training. Andrew stays in Lackland and Devin is already somewhere in Mississippi. I was honored to attend their graduation ceremony and to spend a little time with these two. It reminded me so much of my own son's pass in review. Why, yes, I did cry. There is nothing to compare to the patriotism and pomp and circumstance that is displayed at these events. I watch these young men and women in awe. In a few short weeks they have transformed to men of honor and dignity. They are truly sacrificing for us. Dont ever let anyone convince you that they must be on the front lines to be called warriors. They all set their own lifes aside for me...and you. Please pray for the families that have released these young men and women into this service. Believe me, it isnt easy! Please pray for these two and all the others that are out there giving of themselves so that we might thrive. Wow...sounds like another familier Truth (with a capitol "T") God gave his only begotten Son, Jesus, to be sacrificed for our sin, so that we might live in abundance now and thru our belief in Jesus, enjoy eternity in heaven with Him! Praise God for sacrifice! ( John 3:16)


Make your vacation a memory by making it a point to visit at least one quilt shop! Pick up a fat quarter of fabric that will remind you of your trip or the event celebrated! I was in Texas and found a piece of Bluebonnet (state flower( fabric! As you know, I love floral quilts, so this will fit right in. I will remember my special time in San Antonio whenever I see a bit of it in my quilts! This is a cheap souvenior! Happy Quilting!

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