For a number of years, my husband, Bob and I have dragged ourselves out of bed to jump into the Black Friday shopping,to get a head start on our Christmas shopping. Our morning started with a stop for much needed coffee, and a quick look at the ads to see where to start our shopping. While a lot of people have told us that we are crazy to enjoy this tradition, we really enjoyed it…until the stores changed it. Call me a traditionalist, but i don’t like the idea of shopping on Thanksgiving. That is a day to spend with family, and I see no sense in having the stores open at all. The people who are forced to work to keep the stores open, should be spending that time with their families, but instead they are working and I will not go out and shop when it means that those people are not able to spend Thanksgiving with their families, and that isn’t fair to them or their families.
When the stores started their “Black Friday” sales on Thanksgiving Day, it also eliminated the need to get up early on Friday to stand out in the cold and wait for the opening of the store, so you could try to be the first one to get in and get those “must have” gifts, that were on sale, starting at 6:00 in the morning. With the sale starting on Thursday, I would rather use the day to sleep in, and…maybe go shopping later in the day. I guess that we have just become disenchanted by the whole “Black Friday” event, because it starts on Thursday…and even on Wednesday in some stores, so that basically we are seeing the death of Black Friday. These days there are no crowds, even at the “Early Bird Sale.” If no one is rushing into the stores to buy, why should I get up at 4:00 in the morning to get there first?
Strangely, it seems like the sale items aren’t even that spectacular. I suppose there might be a few items that are must haves, but nobody seems to be rushing out to buy those, and the stores seem to have more than enough of them to go around. Suddenly, black Friday shopping is just like any other day, except that I refuse to go shopping on Thanksgiving, because that is just wrong. I’m sure there are those out there who do shop on Thanksgiving, but I have too many family members who have had to work on thanksgiving because the store they work in is pen that day. They missed out on that time with their families, because the stores thought it would bring in a few dollars more. To those stores I say…no thanks, I’ll wait until Friday, or better yet…shop online!! I won’t be part of the complete disregard, by the stores, of the need for their employees to have family time.
For some reason, time seems to fly by much faster as we get older than it did when we were young. Maybe it is because as kids, we could only think of being grown up. In reality, it’s too bad that we didn’t know that with growing up would come many other things that are not so pleasant as simply getting to be an adult. Responsibility is probably the first thing you suddenly notice, but it will not be the worst thing you will ever face. No, the worst thing is definitely loss, and it seems like the older we get, the more people we know who have passed away. It’s not just family, of course, but friends, parents and siblings of friends, and the worst…children.
While the loss of our loved one is something that we deal with every day, there are days that are definitely worse. The anniversary of the day they passed, and in that first year, the day of the month that they passed. Today marks the 9 month anniversary of my mom’s passing, as well as the 5th anniversary of the passing of her little great granddaughter…Laila Spethman. While there is little comfort for those of us left behind, there is a degree of comfort in knowing that my parents are getting to know their two little granddaughters who left us too soon, Alyssa Harman and Laila Spethman. I know they are having such a great time, because for both Mom and Dad, there was nothing more important than family, and every little grandchild was very special. I know that the loss of two young great granddaughters was very hard on them, and I know that they are having a great time getting to know those girls.
The days that mark the loss of a loved one are always hard, and while we wish we didn’t have to face them, they are also days to remember. Our minds drift back to happy days, during their lives. We think about the sweet little memories, such as the one my sister Caryl Reed had yesterday. When she was giving a bed that her husband Mike had made for our mom to use when she visited, to their grandson, Topher Spicer. As they were moving the bed, one of Mom’s curlers and a bobby pin were under the bed. They had fallen out the one time she got to sleep there. Caryl said it was like a little hug from Mom. As this nine month anniversary of her passing arrives, it’s like Mom is sending her love and telling us that she is having a wonderful time in Heaven with Dad, Alyssa, Laila, and the rest of the family who were there to greet her. While this day brings a dual sadness to our hearts, because we miss Mom and Laila, it also reminds us how happy they are, celebrating in Heaven, because there is no sadness or tears there. We love and miss you Mom and Laila, as well as Dad, Alyssa and all our other loved ones in Heaven. Someday soon we will see you again.
When I look at the man my husband, Bob has become, I can’t help but think back on the young man he was when I first met him, and imagine the boy he used to be. Bob has been and always will be very much into cars. Really, from the time he was young, to the present day. Cars have intrigued him. As a kid, he had lots of model cars. They pretty much dominated his time and his room. Pictures of his collections dominated his photo album too. He put the cars together with much patience and great care. If you have ever looked at a model car, before it was put together, you will know that there is a multitude od tiny pieces that must be glued in and in the proper order for the car to come together and look the way it should. Since I don’t really like to do puzzles, and this seems much like a puzzle to me, I think that putting a model car together would drive me crazy. Nevertheless, it was a pastime that Bob really enjoyed.
I didn’t know this before I knew Bob, but the makers of model cars keep a record of sorts on the cars they have made, much like baseball cards or football cards, you can collect them all. And, I think Bob may have done just that when he was a young man. I remember buying some for him in later years, and that is when I discovered that to do so correctly, I needed to know which ones he already had, because duplicates really made no sense…unless a person just wanted to have lots of different colored Mustangs.
These cars were not toys, as I’m sure Bob’s younger siblings and especially his little brother, Ron would find out. As a child who sees a plastic car will tell you…”It looked like a toy to me!” That was usually said after they found themselves in hot water with the model car’s owner. It’s an innocent mistake, when you think about it. All their toys are about that size, so what makes this car so special that it can’t be driven. Well, I suppose the real answer would lie in the fact that the car’s wheels were glued in place…or at least a lot of them were. The fact that the cars wheels would not move might make it difficult to drive it, but that is rarely a deterrent to a kid who wants to look the car over and play with it, but a big brother who threatens to rip your head off, might just make you think twice before you touch one of these priceless treasures…if you want to live, that is.
As the years have passed, Bob’s love of cars has only grown. Nevertheless, these days he has bigger fish to fry than the little model cars he used to love to spend so much time making. Now, real cars dominate his free time. He is constantly working on a car for this person or that person, and once in a while even himself…or me!! He is constantly covered in grease from head to toe. He seldom uses glue to put things back together, but there are times when a repair does call for a sealant or something similar. I suppose that if he had time, he might enjoy putting together model cars again, but thankfully for me, he doesn’t have a lot of time for such things. No, we don’t have model cars lining the headboard of our bed, but that doesn’t mean he likes then any less. And it doesn’t mean that our home is free of them either. While most of them have been given away or stored away in boxes, there is still one model car that gets to live out in the open. In our living room, on a shelf with knick-knacks, sits a model car of one of his favorite kinds…the El Camino. He used to have an one years ago. It is long since gone, but it’s memory lives on in the form of a model car.
My niece, Susan was in town recently with her girls, Jala and Kaytlyn. I find myself amazed every time I see the girls, at how fast they are growing up. Jala is a tall slender girl with lots of energy, and while Kaytlyn is 6 years younger than her big sister, she wants to be all grown up like her big sister, anyway. As the girls played, I watched Kaytlyn try to imitate everything Jala did.
Still, as Kaytlyn grows, I can see that she is coming into her own too. She loves to dance, and whenever she finds herself at a wedding or other party involving music, Kaytlyn gets out there and struts her stuff with the best of them. It doesn’t matter if she has a partner or not, she can dance either way. And, she doesn’t mind teaching some other little girl how to dance too.
Kaytlyn is a girlie girl, and she likes to do things that make her feel pretty. Dancing is always something that makes little girls feel pretty. It’s funny that when kids are little, they dance without inhibition, and later, when they aren’t little, they feel self conscious, so watching these little ones dance is always so much fun. Of course, some of these little kids have pretty good rhythm, and that makes for good little dancers.
Never the less, as the evening wears on, even the most energetic kids, finally get tired, and they have to take a break. Being a dancer can be exhausting and these tiny dancers are usually in bed much earlier than the rest of us. Before it gets very late, Kaytlyn is too tired to dance any more and just wants to find her bed. There will always be another opportunity to dance at home tomorrow. Today is Kaytlyn’s birthday. Happy birthday tiny dancer!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When my granddaughter, Shai was a little girl, she was…well, a Drama Queen, as I think I have told you before. Many teenaged girls turn into Drama Queens for a time, but this was pretty much instantaneous for Shai. If you startled her, she came unglued. If you put her to bed, she came unglued. She had to be rocked to sleep, in order for Amy to get any peace during the day. Now, this wasn’t totally her fault, as some babies just startle easier than others, and of course, rocking her to sleep was so wonderful, that we all spoiled her in that arena, as well as plenty of rocking for her cousin Christopher.
Nevertheless, like her Grandma, Miss Shai did not like bugs…of any kind!!! With the possible exception of the lady bug. So, if she was playing, and she happened to see a bug, her instant reaction was to scream, “Budge…budge!!!”” This was her pronunciation of the word bug. I can understand her reaction, as I have been known to freak out about a bug my self. Even the tiniest spider, has the ability to make me cringe, as both my husband and my boss can tell you. Killing bugs…is simply not in my job description at home or at work!!! And I don’t think it is in Shai’s job description to this day either.
It’s funny that certain bugs don’t seem to bother us quite as much as others. I don’t mind Lady Bugs, and I don’t think Shai does either, and in the arena of other animals or insects, I love butterflies, but they really need to keep their distance, and yet I don’t mind if a Hummingbird tries to dive bomb me. Odd, I know, but that is just the way it is. I think that is another area that Shai and I agree on. One day she had a Hummingbird fly up to her shirt that happened to have a great big pink flower on it. She didn’t seem to be bothered by this little bird who obviously thought she was Hummingbird Feeder. She simply stood there until he realized that he was trying to eat from the wrong flower, and flew away, which of course took only a matter of seconds. I’m not sure what she would have done if he took longer. My guess is that she would have started screaming, “Budge!!! Budge!!”, and Amy would have had to rescue her from the horrible monster that she thought was her friend. I’m glad that was not the case. By the time she realized that the Hummingbird was that close, he was already gone.
My grand niece, Jala has very specific ideas about what she likes and what she doesn’t. Jala is 10 years old today, and when asked what she wants for her birthday, she said, “A yellow blanket, because it will match Sponge Bob!!” Now this is not an unusual request for Miss Jala, who is a collector of blankets. In fact, she has been collecting them for some time.
No blanket owner is safe from Jala. When she goes to her grandma’s, if my sister-in-law, Debbie, Jala’s grandma is making a quilt, well, it’s very likely that it will be leaving the house in Miss Jala’s arms. Debbie find’s it very hard to say no, so the best solution is to hide all quilts when Jala is on her way over. And Jala’s mom has an even bigger problem…where to put this massive collection of blankets. She can’t pack them away, because Jala wants different ones at different times, and remembers each and every one that she has. Before Susan’s younger daughter, Kaytlyn came along, the blankets took up the whole top of her closet, but now, she could really use the space for Kaytlyn’s things. Susan doesn’t mind having her daughter collect something, but she does hope that soon it will be something…smaller, maybe!!
As I said, Jala has very specific ideas about what she likes. And Jala loves her grandma’s dog, Sparkie. Since Debbie and Lynn got Sparkie about a year ago, Jala pretty much lives at her grandma’s house. She has taken it upon herself to train Sparkie to fetch, walk on a leash, sit, roll over, and shake hands. And this love is totally mutual, because Sparkie goes crazy when Jala shows up. They are almost inseparable.
Debbie and Lynn had to be in Casper last week, and Jala was very excited, because Sparkie was going to spend a few days at her house. Jala had great plans. Sparkie was going to sleep in her bed, and they were going to play all day. Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite as planned. Susan’s husband Josh was working that first night, and in the middle of the night, Susan woke up to find both of her daughters in bed with her. So…where was Sparkie? Well, Sparkie was sleeping peacefully downstairs in the dog kennel, with the door wide open. Unfortunately for Jala, Susan had told her sister, Kaytlyn that she could sleep with Sparkie the next night. Sorry Jala, but I hope your birthday is super!! Happy birthday!! We love you!!
When my sister, Cheryl and I were in…oh, probably junior high, she had been up late watching television, when she came in and woke me up, telling me that we were going to watch scary movies. I’m sure it must have been a Friday night, as our parents wouldn’t have allowed us to be up so late on a school night. Of course, gullible me…I got up to watch scary movies with my sister…even though I had to be the biggest chicken on earth at that time in my life.
Little did I know that Cheryl had been up for a while, and apparently something had scared her a little bit too, so she wanted company. Or maybe she just figured she could scare me. I’ve never really decided which it was. That said, we got up and started watching some show…the name of which I don’t recall. After getting to the point of knowing very well, that I would not be able to go back to bed…no matter what, we began to hear some strange sounds.
Cheryl said that she thought Linda Little Trees was outside, because she could hear a voice that sounded like hers, only scary. Now for those of you who don’t know, Linda Little Trees was an Indian squaw on an old Western movie. I’m not sure which one, but I believe it was “Three Guns For Texas” with Shelley Morrison. The parts she played, were in no way scary, but for some reason the lateness of the hour and the show we were watching made whatever it was that we heard seem like some horror version of Linda Little Trees.
In reality, it was a Siamese cat outside that was the real problem. He was making the weird meowing sounds that Siamese cats do, and it sounded like he was saying “Linda Little Trees.” Or at least that was what Cheryl told me, and I was too scared to argue. The next thing we knew someone was walking up on the porch and we heard a thump. Of course, both of us started screaming, and I’m quite sure the paper boy freaked out.
My dad, on the other hand, had had enough. He jumped out of bed, and said, “What is going on out here?” After frantically telling Dad about the whole terrible ordeal, he promptly opened the front door and we all trooped outside to see the cat making the very sound we heard, and the newspaper on the porch. Then he told us to shut the TV off and go to bed.
I still don’t know if Cheryl was as scared as I was that night, or if she was making the whole thing up because her little sister was pretty gullible and it was fun to scare her. All I know is that since Dad said we had to go to bed…I was real glad that it was pretty light at 4:00 in the morning. Otherwise, I know I wouldn’t have been able to sleep a wink.
Bob’s grandmother, like most grandmothers, loved babies. If there were babies in the house, it was a sure bet that Grandma would be there holding them. From her children, to her great great grandchildren, Grandma loved having the kids of all ages come for visits to her house. She would go all out, making good things to eat and reading books to the little ones. It was like a little bit of heaven for her to spend time with her precious little babies.
And the children loved coming to visit her too. She would go with them to explore the ranch. Out to the garden or the chicken coop to find eggs, she gave them a glimpse of how different life is on a farm or ranch, from that of a city or town. She let then help in the kitchen and read to them before their nap. Grandma had a bed out on the enclosed front porch where the kids could nap in the coolness of the porch on a hot summer day. It was always a favorite place to nap, in that they could still listen to the activity going on in the kitchen until they fell asleep.
Through the years, many a child, grandchild, great grandchild and great great grandchild has sat on Grandma’s lap and enjoyed the luxury of feeling like they were Grandma’s special little one for a while. It was a special treat, because there were so many grandkids that sometimes it was a fight for the right to sit with Grandma. I guess its a good thing that Grandma always had room enough for two little babies to sit with her. All the grandkids loved Grandma, and she loved them, and that made going to visit Grandma a wonderfully special trip, and one that will always be cherished by all her children and grandchildren.
Grandma has been in Heaven now for over 13 years, and many new grandchildren have come along, who have not had the great privilege of knowing this wonderful lady. That makes me very sad for those new little ones, because their Grandma was an amazing lady, and I always felt that my girls were better people for having known her. As for all these new little ones, their grandma will be waiting to greet them when we all get to Heaven, and I’m sure there will still be room on her lap to hold her little babies…even if they are all grown up.