Saturday, March 31, 2018

Eyes Wide Open

On this last day of the March Writing Challenge, I'm feeling good.  I may have missed a day of the challenge but I never missed a day thinking- thinking, "hmm...I wonder what I'll write about today."

One thing I enjoy about this challenge is the way it reminds me to take a closer look at what's going around me.  I hold my head high as I go through the day, always looking around in search of the slice of the day.

Some days a slice pops right out at me.  Other days it doesn't.  Either way, it's okay because what I like the most is the mere act of forcing my eyes to open just a little wider.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Giving Back

My grandmother made the sweetest chocolate butter cream Easter eggs I've ever tasted.  I can still remember how biting into one would make my teeth hurt.  Believe me, I like chocolate and at the age of 8, I loved all kinds of candy.  To think there would ever be something that I deemed too sweet to eat is hard to believe.  But for me, the chocolate eggs were too much for my young teeth to handle.

My grandmother didn't feel that way.   

A stroke later in life paralyzed her.  By the time I was in 3rd grade she was living, with her sister, in our house.  Mom Mom spent most of her day in a hospital bed.  Her sister, my great Aunt Mary, took care of her making sure she had food prepared for each meal and company all day long.  Aunt Mary also inherited the duty of making the sweet, chocolate eggs.  

My mother had told me not to give the eggs to my grandmother.  I suppose they were not really included in the diet of a stroke patient.  Even so, it didn't keep my grandmother from asking.

"Won't you get me one of those eggs?" she asked.

I knew I wasn't supposed to, but how do you say no to your grandmother?

I mean I'm sure she gave me all kinds of cookies and sweets against my mother's wishes.  So why not return the favor?

I don't remember a lot about my maternal grandmother as she died when I was only 10 years old.  One thing I do remember is the smile on her face, and the twinkle in her eyes, when she took a bite of that forbidden chocolate Easter egg I smuggled for her.

Thursday, March 29, 2018


I spent ten hours in the car yesterday.  Although the drive home from Indiana was a scenic one I was happy to be home and off the rainy roads.  As usual, my two cats were there to greet me. 

Once dinner was served both felines took up their usual evening positions.  Older cat Edgar hopped on his perch at the back window to check out the birds on the patio.  Alice spent some time in the front window before trotting over my way with a small tin foil ball in her mouth.  She dropped it at my feet and stared hopefully.

Alice has me trained pretty well, so I picked up the silver sphere and tossed it across the room.  She ran to fetch it and then quickly returned it to me once again.  I threw it once more.  She fetched it again. And so the evening went...

I was gone for 5 days, so there was a lot of fetching to catch up on. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Bat Trivia

The Louisville Slugger baseball bat factory makes a helluva lot of bats.  Streamlined machinery allows them to make a bat in about 6 seconds.  That's much faster than the 30 minutes it takes to make them by hand.

It's no surprise that the factory also produces a lot of wood shavings- about 1.5 tons a week.

When asked where all those wood shavings go our tour guide was more than eager to tell us.

"A turkey farmer uses them for bedding.  He's got the happiest fowl anywhere."

So punny.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Buttons, Buttons, Who's Got the Buttons?

I spent the afternoon walking around the small town of Madison, Indiana.  A trip inside the local historical society offered a peek at the many businesses that were a part of the area's history.  The one that surprised me was button making. 

Pearl buttons were created from mussel shells that lined the banks of the river.  Today I saw the white shell that remained.  The original shape was there, but the shell had eight or ten button-sized holes punched out.

Unfortunately, the working conditions were not ideal.  According to the Hoosier State Chronicles website, the use of hydrochloric acid and poor ventilation didn't help.  Injury was common as many workers lost fingers while stamping out the buttons. 

Eventually, the shell banks that had been so plentiful were gone. Before long, plastics made their way to the button industry so shells were no longer needed.  Innovation continued in the form of zippers and Velcro and the button factories of the Midwest were no more.

I love finding out about such little nuggets of history.  Thanks, Madison for making sure I learned something new today.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Porch Time

I sat, this evening, on a friend's porch- gliding on the swing that was hoisted on a chain overlooking the culdesac.  Closing my eyes I was taken back to my grandmother's screened-in front porch down in the country- the one where we all hung out each evening after a long summer day.

Back then my grandmother would pay me 25 cents to rub her tired feet.  The adults would talk about this and that.  As a child I would do my best to earn my quarters, all the while listening to the grownups talk about Watergate, Nixon and everything else that went over my head

Tonight, as I waited for a friend to bring me a cold beer,  I sat in silence. I gazed at the moonlit sky and blinked the tears away- my adult-self still feeling very much like a little girl, missing her granny.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Fresh Coat of Beautiful

The flat land of Ohio was a welcome change after an afternoon spent driving up and down the hills of West Virginia.  The scenery was beautiful as my rural route showcased farms, barns and expansive views.

Closing in on Cincinnati I passed a truck spreading salt on the roads.  A look ahead at the clouds spelled out my future- I would be driving the final two hours of the trip in the snow.

Fortunately, the weather didn't slow me down.  Well, not that much.  A fresh coating of snow just made all that midwest scenery that much more delightful.  It was hard not to slow down to get a better look.