Memory of a dream…

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I move to your warmth

but you aren’t there

tears deliver me to unhinged

dreaming

and morning shows up rude

careless

awful

.

you won’t be there

ever again

nor there

nor there

and mornings will arrive

rude careless awful

forever

.

death of hope snuffs out life

a morning has to come

not rude careless awful

breathing beings cease with

only rude careless awful

but hope is pliant

she offers herself endlessly to true believers

.

JSmith 6/23/2016

 

 

 

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A throwback to other lifetimes…

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Once upon a time there lived a little farm girl with big dreams – and who knows where that comes from?

Her mother, grandmothers, a grandpa, her aunties, uncles, sisters and cousins were voracious readers so there was never a shortage of books at hand, all of which were free for the borrowing if you thought you were big enough. {Except for that one in the top of the closet – ZOWEE!}  So yeah, big dreams got planted – extra points and a high five for the sweet double entendre, thank you.

She thought she was smart – she was told as much in subtle ways by other smart people, by which we mean her sassiness was nurtured to an appalling degree, thanks, Fam.

Alas, however, a shocking number of pivotal, paramount, life-and-death aspects of life were still unexplored at a juncture when that information would have been so very helpful to our farm girl. Since she was lacking in skills acquired only through knowledge, we’re forced to conclude that she was not nearly as smart as she might have thought. Let’s just say mistakes were made. Or in the words of her farm grandma, “Too soon old…too late schmart.” Sorry, chicky.

The girl grew up, sort of, and did the thing she said she’d never do – she married a farmer. And then a lot happened: a son, a life, a love, beautiful times, ugly times, hard and dirty work, serious illnesses, deaths, near-deaths, caregiving, more deaths, colossal lifestyle adjustments…and she matured, which is not the same as growing up. Our girl continues to reject that as a viable option.

She tossed those beat up green Ropers out and hasn’t been behind the wheel of a tractor or combine for more than a dozen years – a lifetime ago; however, we’ve all heard the wisdom that says you can take the girl off the farm but you can’t take the farm out of the girl. That’s truth right there, I don’t care who ya’ are. Here’s another one – you can’t take the dream out of the dreamer – and big dreamers win big.

 

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The Nickel Tour …

As promised yesterday, a brief reading list from Playing for Time’s archives.  Bets are now open as to how many I can repost without editing …

NOTE:  Each link should open in a new window.

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2013/01/30/behind-every-good-woman-is-a-good-man/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2015/10/31/everyday-garden-variety-bleeding-hearts/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/12/08/what-scares-you/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2013/03/12/why-yes-as-a-matter-of-fact-i-was-raised-in-a-barn/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2013/05/22/memorial-day-reflections/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/09/30/well-this-sucks/  

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/09/23/queer-eye-for-the-straight-girl/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/10/28/a-tuesday-full-of-thankfulness/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/10/24/my-brothers-keeper/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/12/22/not-going-down-without-a-rant/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2015/07/18/the-tale-of-the-topless-dancer-the-baby-clown-and-the-cross-country-heist/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/12/04/a-fairytale-for-throwback-thursday/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/10/25/its-saturyay-try-something-new/

There you go, and I was generous — these are favorites from the past three years and I hope you’ll enjoy one or more.  Actually, I hope you’ll adore every single one of them, but how needy would it sound to say that out loud, jeez.  I reposted them as I found them, and they’re a semi-cross-section of my blog, including humor and tears, longer posts and shorter posts, nostalgia and brashness, and maybe a window or two for peering at the writer in her cage.

If you like poetry there’s some of that sprinkled around, and a few of the creations are my own. It’s a genre I want to spend more time working with because of the way it pulls words and feels out of me.

The last link is one recipe that is tried & true, in case you read yesterday’s post — Kim has made dozens of these, inspiring awe and reverence each time, so you can trust it as well as many other recipes we’ve enjoyed since I posted them.  If you have concerns, of course, just ask.  I recommend asking someone who writes a food blog.

 

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Fall, indeed, has fell.

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PROCLAMATION:

Be it known that on this 29th day of September, in the year 2015, I did don a sweatshirt for the first time since storing it last winter.  

Because while out running errands, in thin t-shirt, floppy shorts, and flip-flops, I came this close to freezing my buns off.  Pretty sure the temp was only in the high 60s, so …  And the breeze was chilly on the balcony, in the shade, so hey, sweatshirt weather, fall is here!

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Halfway up the block I had to peel out of it, but it happened!  It’s official, my favorite season is gracing us with its presence.  I’ll shed the flip-flops by first snow.

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The wagon, in its autumn sweetness, was a part of my farm for as long as I lived there and many years before.  I don’t know where it is now, other than in my heart, but I still love it.

*

Various and sundry nonsense … everything about the season brings it to the surface …

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Forget throwbacks …

Throwback Thursday offends my sense of independence so here’s one for Friday — the house where my paternal grandpa was born, near Corydon, Indiana.  In the picture are my great-grandparents George and Salome (Sally) Wagner, my grandpa John, his sister Annie and brother Otto, and their half-sister Teena (always called Teenie, although she never was).  I’d heard stories about the house “all my life,” and when I was in college I drove my grandma there as part of a road trip to visit relatives in several states.  Grandpa had died several years earlier, and on her own after more than 60 years married, Grandma was in want of an adventure.  On the Indiana leg of our trip we took our time locating the house, and found it beautifully cared for by its current owners, much to my grandma’s relief.  The descriptions and tales from my relatives made the yard and outbuildings feel sweetly familiar to me, and the cistern at the bottom of the slope out front where my Wagner kindred stored their perishables was still being fed by the same ice-cold spring.

We humans are so connected to our roots.  Whether we understand it or not, there’s a longing for where and what we came from. Other than not having Grandpa in the car with us, the trip with my grandma was a full-circle experience.  And driving her cross-country broadened my knowledge of her, her life, and her family relationships.  This was highly beneficial for a college girl who didn’t know quite everything yet.

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This is getting ridiculous …

I can’t write, I might as well face it and move on.

It isn’t that I can’t write, I know how, but the words have all gone somewhere else.  Things come to me but I don’t make it to the end of the first sentence and the orphaned drafts are starting to rack up bandwidth.    I have pressure behind my eyes from needing to write something that doesn’t suck, but I sit here every day and do nothing but procrastinate.

Yes, I would like some brie with that whine, be right back …

Wrote that a week ago, walked away from it, looked through some old photos that same afternoon and wrote this.  On Facebook.  Just like that, shazott.  Learned something about myself that’s been knocking around in my head all week, and when it settles into a shape and forms sentences, I’ll share.

So from a week ago …

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Did you get the memo saying PLEASE, NO THROWBACK HUMPDAY PHOTOS??  Neither did I.

This one has layers. Start with where the truck is parked. The blue spruce snuggled up to the passenger side was brought from Colorado, by my grandparents, as a seedling back in ought-whenever because that was perfectly legal then. It grew to many, many feet tall and almost as many feet wide at the base until one day in a storm it simply came out of the ground and assumed a horizontal position, landing on and against the house but wreaking minimal havoc. (Back-story: My grandparents’ house is to the right, where we see part of a roof.)

Then there’s the truck, a fixture of my childhood. It was gray and pretty wonderful, and when my dad drove it to town with the first cutting of wheat to test for moisture content, the gray-dust-covered elevator guys motioned him to drive the front wheels onto the lift, because of course there were no hydraulics under the bed … and then they raised the front of the truck high enough for the wheat to pour out the open tailgate in the back. Which was pretty freaking high to a seven-year-old and he only let me stay in the cab with him once, but not because I cried. I’m pretty sure he decided Mother wouldn’t approve.

Which brings us to the watermelons. Big, dark green, full of luscious red fruit, and juice that ran down our chins and made everything stick to our hands. Every summer, a truckload like this and far more came from my grandpa’s big patch in the middle of a section, next to an irrigation engine. The melon patch was raided one night by a couple of carloads of high school kids — the four girls dropped the four guys off and drove around the section (a square mile), stopping to let their boyfriends stash gunny sacks full of melons in the car trunks. My dad, Grandpa, and a couple of the neighbors, alerted by the sudden rash of traffic in the middle of nowhere, ambushed them in mid-haul, blinded them with spotlights, and panic ensued. The girls drove off, the boys lost their shoes in a field covered in Texas Tacks, and the whole thing ended up in court. My grandpa didn’t mind a melon going missing once in a while, but he held a big feed for the whole township every year and it made him mad that these guys had stolen more than thirty of his prize watermelons and deliberately destroyed a goodly number of the rest just for the hell of it. But it infuriated him even more when he asked the ringleader’s name and the kid said “John Wagner.” That was my grandpa’s name and he thought he had a bona fide smart-ass  in front of him. True story, though, and Big Daddy was an attorney — with the same name. I understand it got fairly comical during the hearing but my grandpa never cracked a smile.  Fun and games. Told you. Layers.

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It’s throw-back Thursday, let’s throw pictures …

Don’t ask about the migrating pile of paperwork, I don’t want to talk about it.  Spoiler alert: today’s list doesn’t look discernibly different from yesterday’s, subject closed.  And if it mattered I’d feel guilty or something, but as the boss of me I’m shockingly indulgent — all the hurry has leaked away and it’s heaven.

I found a little slice of Throw-Back-Thursday heaven … my mom’s cousin Chet … in the Philippines … WWII era.  Enjoy while I think of something to do with this mix of have-to-keep and need-to-toss that won’t go away.

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Sweet, sweet tapioca …

Are there dishes from your childhood you’d give your right earlobe to duplicate?  (Don’t fear it, Stephen Colbert’s doing okay without his.)  I finally came across my mom’s potato pancakes when we moved here — miraculously, they’re made every morning by the nice folks at The Roost, just up the street — who knew?

Still looking for a few things, most of them cooked up by one of my vimmens … the collection of interesting females who shaped my concept of personhood, for good and ill.  My grandmothers, my mom, my aunts … they’re a warm honey-pot in my heart, part perfume, part tears, part crazy, part food.  Like peach cobbler.  I have my grandma’s recipe, but not her homegrown peaches that I helped pick and blanch and slice.  So there’s that, but it’s fixable, except for the grandma part.

Still-warm lemon-meringue pie that’s at least four inches high, baked from scratch with my mom’s recipe.  Actually, somebody I know might have that recipe …

My Aunt Bette’s meatloaf.  That one could probably be solved, too.  The list gets really long, though, once I open the Food Memories file folder — might have to leave the rest of the salivating and crying for another day.  Meanwhile, here’s a thing I’ve looked for and tried to whip together and just happened across today because that’s how the universe works sometimes … the clone of my mom’s tapioca pudding, which, trust me on this, is equally incredible warm or cold.  But I like it warm.

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tapioca pudding recipe

Notes from 12 Tomatoes, where I found the recipe:

“A dessert that’s a favorite among many is tapioca pudding. It’s similar to other sweet puddings like rice pudding to a degree, however there’s something unique to the taste of tapioca. What exactly is tapioca, though? It’s a starch harvested from the cassava plant.

Far too many tapioca pudding recipes call for an instant mix or come in the ‘instant’ variety. So much of the creamy, delicious flavor is lost this way. Instead, our recipe calls for small, pearl tapioca. This wonderful, sweet dessert is a great way to end a meal, or even as a night-cap before you head off to bed. Some tapioca requires soaking overnight. If that is the case, soak overnight and reduce the milk to 2 1/2 cups.”

 

Sweet Tapioca

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Still slightly displaced …

… but here’s a Thursday Throwback while we wait — my Great-Grandma Cummings holding little me.  That, of course, was my I-am-so-done face, which may or may not resurface from time to time.  I love my GG’s wonderful outfit and her sweet face.  And after seeing this photo a kazillion times, I all-at-once get who she reminds me of — Mrs. Doubtfire!  I love that.  I love it so much.   

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Winter Solstice

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Ready for snowy days, fireplaces, and nesting.  

 

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This Thursday’s Throwback

Say hello to two of my great-grandmothers.  Of the four I was blessed to have, the lady on the right is the only one I remember.  Great-Grandma Cummings was the mother of my WWI soldier grandpa, and she was as sweet and wonderful as they make them.  Great-Grandma Somerville on the left was a midwife and ran a boarding house and she too was amazing.  The grandbabies they’re holding may be my Uncle Bob and Aunt Bette — waiting for Baby-Aunt Barbara to weigh in on that.

Great-Grandma Somerville used to tell her new mothers, when she helped them bathe, “I’ll wash down as far as possible and up as far as possible, and you can wash Possible.”  She makes me think of Rose Kennedy without all the money.

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Pumpkin Bread with Caramel Filled DelightFulls!

 

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https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/146152/pumpkin-bread-with-caramel-filled-delightfulls/?

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A Truckload of Christmas Spirit

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A Fairytale for Throwback Thursday

Once upon a time, there lived a handsome young man of steel who told a little white lie about his age, joined the Army at seventeen, fought at the front during The War to End All Wars on many fields of battle, came home intact in mind and body, swept a lovely fifteen-year-old store clerk off her feet, married her straightaway, and started a dynasty.  Thus reads the CliffsNotes version, you may thank me after the test.

But before that, a lot of other things happened.

And while those things were happening, the young man was growing steely because clearly he had good genes plus a step-father who was certifiably unhinged.  When the lad in our tale was less than twelve years old, his step-dad took him to the barren plains of eastern Colorado to “prove up a claim” and homestead it, worked him like a dog, left him there and went home to Kansas.  But not before taking a pot-shot at him off the porch that put a hole through his hat and knocked him flat in the hard Colorado dirt.

The boy lived out there in that little shack by himself, with the heat and the wind and the wildlife, until somebody came for him.  Whatever steel he wasn’t born with must have crawled into his bones in those months, and it never left him.  I know this because he was my grandfather and I know he never lost his metal, his discipline, or his looks.  He and my grandmother raised six sons and three daughters, all worth knowing in their own right.  Grandpa knew how to do everything and Grandma knew the rest, so there was always food on the table and a good roof on a house full of voices laughing, crying, arguing, singing, talking, yelling, but mostly laughing.  Smart funny people, this dynasty.

It’s my favorite fairytale to slip into on cold gray days because it’s all true.  And a thing to love is that with everything Grandpa survived in his years, he never got smelly and mean-spirited and old on the inside. He and my grandmother both figured out how to stay alive and BE alive and how to pass that on.  Pretty cool.

 

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Warming up my pitching arm …

Good morning on another Throwback Thursday!  

Four generations — my Great-Grandpa Somerville, my mom, my grandmother, and baby me.

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