Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mother-in-Law (mother-in-lawwwww...)

Once I wanted to be the best mother, ever.  I'm not sure if I ever quite attained the lofty level of BME, but it sure wasn't for want of trying.  I learned the differences between what they wanted, what they needed and what they just absolutely had to have no matter the sacrifice.  Okay, so the last thing didn't rear it's ugly head quite as often as they insisted on it, but I did eventually level the playing field and work through the problems.  When they were little, it was much easier.  I could simply tell them no or get the object of their affection on the qt and surprise them.  As they got older, that became harder to do.  Just this weekend we were looking at some pictures of them at the age of 8 and 9 just after Santa had made his stop.  It showed the boys with their creatures of selection (transformer creatures of the day) and Wallace says, "oh yeah, I remember those...I was poking around in your closet to see what I could find and there they were...I hated I had done it, there were no surprises."  I never knew that.  It cured him of snooping, I think, but it sort of messed that Christmas up for him.  As they attained teen hood, it was so much harder to do what was best for them and harder to say no.  Since I was a LEO with the Sheriff's Department, I knew every cop in every department in every town including the Highway Patrol.  They couldn't get away with anything that I didn't hear about...eventually.  One of the SCHP patrolmen  had a nickname for Michael...Road Warrior.   He slipped up and called him that when he didn't know I was anywhere around.  I got the story of how he came to get the nickname...two stops in as many nights by the same trooper...and no consequences.  I can't say I agreed with it and told him so.  Of course I had to confront Michael with it as soon as we were both home at the same time...and it slowed his little Chevy down for a time.  Wallace had already taken care of his own speed problem by nearly losing control of his , just trying to see how fast the Trans Am would go.  I learned of this after he was married the first time.  I wished he'd kept it to himself.  Being a semi-believer in the string theory, I sometimes wondered what had happened to them in those alternate lives the true string theory believers often speak of.

So, I wanted to be best mother ever...not quite there...and now trying attain BMilE or Best Mother in law Ever status.  It's an uphill climb.  My son Michael is married to the lovely Anna and they have our only grandchild, Arianna...I do not poke my nose in their business even when they invite it.  I never liked either my parents or Mac's trying to mind our business and I promised myself that I would not do it to them.  When it comes to holidays,  I remember how often I wished I could be with my family during Thanksgiving and Christmas, but usually we were to far away to be with either.  We spent two Thanksgiving's with his family because he was a Navy Recruiter in their home town and we were there.  We spent two with my family because we were in Charleston which isn't far from my family.  It all worked out.  But I remember how I felt as a daughter and I realize that my daughters-in-law must feel the same way.  Therefore, we have Thanksgiving on Saturday so we can all be together.  It's a compromise, but one which I am willing to make.  My older son Wallace presented us with our future daughter -in-law over this holiday season.   We were quite pleased with his choice.  She seemed pleased with our situation of Thanksgiving on Saturday and we all had a great time, especially Arianna (who was looking forward to having a new Aunt in the family...though she is not so sure she wants any cousins any time soon...she's sort of used to being the ONLY grandchild.)

So, I'm going to be a Mother-In-Law again and I couldn't be any happier...I just hope that this song doesn't end up as ring tone for either of my girls!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Over the River and Through the Woods

Over the River and Through the Woods
If you ask, most people would probably say that Christmas is their favorite holiday of all.  Not me, though.  Thanksgiving has always been my favorite and I know it is because of my Grandmother.  We all adored Mammy. She could do no wrong in our eyes.  Her approval was all we craved and her understanding was all we wanted.  No matter where we were living when we were children, Mama always made sure that we were in Chesterfield at Mammy and Daddy Dwight's house for Thanksgiving.  We would drive all day and half the night, roll out of that car and race to the screen porch where we would be gathered up in the loving arms of our Grandmother.  She would quickly hustle us off to bed upstairs with blankets warmed by the little pot bellied stove in the kitchen.  It was the most marvelous feeling in the world to snuggle down in one of the big old double beds upstairs, toasty warm under the covers, but our noses would be chilled by the artic like cold of the unheated bedroom we loved. 
The next morning all the cousins would arrive to hugs from their Aunt Deferris and Uncle Mike and we'd race around outside and play like there was no tomorrow. Inside the Aunts and Mammy would be catching up on all the news, the Uncles would be talking about world events and President Eisenhower...I think Daddy Dwight was always secretly proud that he and the great man shared a first name.  After a full day of catching up, the adults planned the next day's big meal.  The turkey was sitting stuffed and ready on the freezer on the screened porch.  His day in the oven would come early.  The shelves were lined with Pecan pies, caramel cakes, fruit cakes and a 12 layer cake that defied gravity by remaining upright.  Once again, the baths would be had, the blankets warmed and we were bundled off to bed to dream of the coming feast. 
We heard the business of the day long before we beheld it with our very own eyes.  I could hear the rustling of aprons on dress skirts, hear the pans clanking against the oven racks as the tom turkey was slid into its depths. The water was running into the sink to begin the seemingly never ending washing up of pans and utensils.  We would lie in bed listening to Mammy and Mama while they talked and compared recipes.  Their laughter was pure music, the melodic notes climbing up the stairs and around the corner then race to the bed where we lay, warming us with the sound.  Soon we would all be up, the rest of the family would arrive and the Aunts would lay the for the adults and then the children's table.  I always thought how exciting it would be to eat with the adults in the dining room, the conversation washing over me like honey.. .  But today I would give anything to go back to the childrens table with the cousins who were like sisers and brothers, to the laughter that filled those two rooms to the rafters.   I would love to see again the cranberry colored plates and the stemmed glassware sitting on pristene white starched tablecloths, the silver very properly placed by each plate.  But most of all, I'd love to feel my grandmother's arms around me again.  Now that would truly be a Thanksgiving to remember.

The recipe for Pumpkin Dump Cake...easy peasy...

1 (18.25 ounce) Betty Crocker Supermoist yellow cake mix
1 (20 ounce) can pure pumpkin
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
3 whole eggs
1 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
2. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, and cinnamon until well blended. Spread pumpkin mixture in prepared baking dish.
3. Sprinkle cake mix evenly on top of the batter. Pour melted butter over the top of the cake mix. Bake 50 minutes.
4. Cool. Top with whipped cream or ice cream.
I use sugar substitutes like Splenda and sugar free kool whip as a topping...great for the dieters and the diabetic members of our family....
Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Family Reunions

Family Reunions

Here in the South (you'll notice that the South is capitalized due to her importance) while we may not have a monopoly on Family Reunions, we certainly make a big deal of them.  I've often thought it was because of all the Scots/Irish bloodlines in our history that makes it so important.  Our family clans feel the need to get together and touch base on what everyone is doing, who they've married (thus bringing in new blood into the clan) and to ramble through the Family Cemetary to speak to all our forefathers and foremothers, let them know we're still here and they still matter.  I've had a fascination with our family cemetary since I've had recallable memory. WHen I was a child I liked nothing better than to ramble through the graves and listen as my Grandmother told me the history of those who rested here. 
 This past October 15th, not only did Mac and I celebrate our 43rd wedding annivesary, we attended the Douglas Family Reunion along with younger son Michael and wife Anna.  Most importantly, our Grand Daughter, Arianna, was attending her first ever reunion of our family.  Dinner, which is always wonderful and no one goes away hungry from these things, was followed by the adult family members recalling reunions past at Big Granny Douglas's wonderful home on Douglas Ranch Road.  We've held them at the Church for a number of years now, but they always included the trek to the Douglas Family Cemetary even back then.  I saw that Arianna and some of the younger cousins had made their way to the cemetary, so I joined them.  Arianna was standing at her Grandmother Grace's (Douglas Valverde) gravesite and asked who else she was related to (and who now resided )in this wooded glen.  I pointed out her Great and Great Great Grandparents, her great great Aunts and Uncles, cousins and all the other relatives she would never know except by the stories we could tell her.  I've never found our family cemetary to be spooky in the least.  It's simply a place where the sleeping lie in another dimension, listening for voices in another room.  I look forward to seeing all the family members as they take their younger generations through and point out who lies where and share memories of their own past with these family members of yesterday.  Yes, we certainly make a big deal of our Family Reunions...and it's not always about the food.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Salute

They say that the newspapers of the world will soon be a thing of the past, that with the internet news so available to breaking news there will be no need for the printed page.  You have Kindle to read books, no smell of ink and tree to feed your senses.  But The Cheraw Chronicle and Chesterfield Advertiser will continue to do what they do best...bring you news of today and yesterday and thing they do well is honor our Veterans.  For all of you who aren't really sure when we began this holiday, here is a short blurb on the why and wherefore.
Veterans Day is an annual United States holiday honoring military veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. It is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world and falls on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.) Courtesy of my History Teacher Mr. Phil Chewning.
Look at some of the pictures that we have here honoring the Veterans of Chesterfield County.  Most of them served during a time of war...WWI, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, and both of the Middle East conflicts one over one still going on.  Most of them were mere children when they entered the service of our country.  They were as young as fifteen some of them.  Or they were seventeen like my husband Mac.  I remember my grandmother making the statement that it is always the young who rise up to protect the country of old men and women.  Never is that more evident than today.  The pictures of those so young that we have lost recently make me want to weep.  At a time in their lives when they should be playing football, going to college, dancing the night away or just living their lives without worry of gunfire or explosion, instead we are bombarded with the news of the dead and injured.  So, this is not a day for sales or merriment but a time of celebration, celebration of the unselfish men and women who gladly serve our nation and in turn, us.  Thank you, all you brave young men and women, those who are now no longer young those who are no longer with us and those who will show up at the recruiters offices and offer their services and their lives to protect the this land we love.  Thank you!!!