Virginia Muriel ByerMy Aunt Virginia Beadle is a soft spoken, teeny little woman, who is beautiful, inside and out. Beauty is a trait the Byer family kids all had in common, although I’m sure the two boys preferred handsome. Nevertheless, my grandparents did give birth to nine very beautiful people. Aunt Virginia was the second of my grandparents’ children, following my Aunt Evelyn, who was about two years older than Aunt Virginia. Like her older sister, Aunt Virginia was a friendly person who was liked by everyone she met. Since the Byer family has lived in this area for many, many years, that could be a very long list of people too. In fact, I am often amazed at the people I run into who know or knew my Aunt Virginia and her siblings.

Being the second oldest brought with it a certain degree of responsibility as the younger siblings came along. While grandma didn’t work outside the home, big families require the cooperation of all its members, and the older ones are first in line to help out. I suppose it was with the older children that the singing while you work tradition came about in my grandparents’ family. They would sing while they did the dishes or cleaned the house. It made for a happy home, and it was with the help of the older siblings, like Aunt Virginia that the younger siblings learned the Aunt Virginiasongs and tradition. It was a tradition that was a tribute to my grandmother, Hattie Byer. She instilled in her children a love of song, happiness, and hard work.

As a child, I remember Aunt Virginia’s soft laugh and her sweet smile. She was always so much fun to be around. Her gentle spirit always made me feel loved. What more could a little kid ask from their aunt. I have always felt very blessed to know my Aunt Virginia. With Aunt Evelyn’s passing in May, Aunt Virginia became the oldest sibling left in the family. In many ways, that is kind of a wake up call for all of us…take the time to touch base with her whenever you can. Today is Aunt Virginia’s birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Virginia!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!

Sometimes, in our everyday lives, we forget to notice just how much God has blessed us with our spouses. It isn’t necessarily the big things they do for us, but rather it’s the little things, that make us stop and think of how blessed we are. Sometimes in a marriage, we forget to do the little, helpful things for each other, so when your spouse does something that is such a simple act of kindness and love, it can leave you…almost in awe of this love of your life.

Many of you know that we have been caregivers for Bob’s parents over the last few years, and I would never leave them in a position of having no one to help them. Still, it is a big job, and sometimes, I find myself feeling exhausted. There is no real help for it, as there are only so many hours in the day, and a number of them are required to give them the care they need to continue to stay in their own home.

Bob is usually right there beside me, working to keep them healthy, and many evenings find us sitting in our easy chairs, after getting them to bed, watching television…well, actually, sleeping through the show we are supposed to be watching. Not your typical date night. We used to walk 2 hours a day, but there is little time for that now…and that’s ok. Our time will come around again. This is parent time, and not only is it necessary, it is a very special time in our lives. I suppose some people think of caregiving as a burden, but I think of it as an opportunity to make the quality of life better for my in-laws, and my mom, although she has not needed as much care these days. It is also a time of bonding….of building a relationship that is so mutually blessed, that I feel a bit sorry for those who never have that bonding opportunity with their own parents or in-laws.

Often, with his mother, there is little Bob can do to help, but he shows his appreciation in the little things he does for me. Whether it is cooking dinner, washing the dishes (or helping me wash the dishes), or the many other little things he does for me, just because he knows I am tired, Bob always shows me how much he appreciates me. That means more than any gift he could give, or even places he could take me. He simply understands if I’m too tired to do some things around the house, and he picks up the slack. Love doesn’t manifest itself in any more beautiful way than that…and I couldn’t feel more loved.

When my mother was young, she and her 8 brothers and sisters helped out with chores around the house. Dishes were a big undertaking with 11 people in the family, so every day, after supper, Grandma would wash the dishes, and the children would dry them and put them away.

Many times there would be a lot of conversation going on, but as with any group of kids, sometimes arguing seemed the order of the day. One day in particular, the arguing became rather heated, and Grandma had simply had enough of it, so she yelled over the arguing, “Alright, that is enough!! I don’t want to hear another peep out of you kids!!”

Well, my grandmother was a tiny little woman of only 5′, in her tall days, but one thing I can tell you from personal experience…you didn’t mess with Grandma! Sometimes small packages can carry a big boom! And that is exactly how it was with my grandma, so when she told her kids to knock it off, they knew that she meant business.

Still, in every crowd there is one person who figures that life is about taking chances. So, as all the children stood there working quietly, my Aunt Deloris, Aunt Dee as we called her, assessed the situation and made a decision. She quietly said, “Peep.” Well, you can imagine that the other children assumed that she was in BIG trouble, but Grandma, try as she might, couldn’t help herself. She burst out laughing. Of course, everyone else started laughing too, and the argument was over.

Nevertheless, Grandma had a dilemma, and I don’t know if it started as a result of that argument or not, but Grandma decided that a good way to stop an argument before it started…at least while doing the dishes, was to have a sing-along. She figured that singing children weren’t arguing children. Thus, was born what I will call the Dish-Along.

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