Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Tribute To Amy

Today I had an omious feeling of sadness and gloom, a sense of foreboding. I suffer from depression so this is not a new feeling, today I put it off to the sunless sky, the constant rain and thunder. It just looked like a good day to cry. I told my husband that this was just a sad sad day. As the rain poured I had a recollection of something a commentator said when Ted Kennedy died, that there were tears from heaven. Odd that these thoughts popped into my head today. Sometimes our inner self senses a truth before we are told it.



Today my aunt died.

Amy May Bond. Born 1919 in Northern Ireland. A land of beauty. And she was beautiful, a deep inner beauty not marred by negative thoughts or actions. She kept true to who she was all of her life, a kind and beautiful person.





She was the happiest of people, with the most beautiful smile and presence. She was kind to all. I have only met one person in my life who was ALWAYS kind and sweet. A lady who could find good in everyone. Just being near her you wanted to better yourself, to be more like her. What a smile she had. It could brighten even the gloomiest of moods. Just being near her was like breathing in sunshine. And now on the day she passes, here at least on the other side of the world the skies are overcast and rainy. No sunshine for us today, perhaps tomorrow.

George and Esther Bond raised 3 children (Edna and Edmund from a previous marriage) and Amy May. These 3 although separated by an ocean and thousands of miles would continue to write and stay close through the years. Letters and cards were very important.

My aunt wrote beautiful uplifting letters, she had a lovely penmanship, even into her old age her hand was steady as she wrote. My mother loved getting letters from her sister, it would cheer Mom up and she would read and re-read each letter. Each Christmas they would send each other calendars, a welcome package along with the news from each.

Amy came to visit a few years ago when Mom was so ill. She sat by my mother's bed and talked to her for hours about all the fun times they had when they were children. Then she would sit and talk to my Dad, he loved her visit because he missed her as well.

As I reflect upon her qualities I am brought to the thought that she was always grateful. And that gratitude was expressed. Once in an airport she couldn't find her passport and had others helping her to find it. Once found she would not just rush off to her gate, no she turned and walked back to those who had helped to thank them for their help and for their patience.

She loved to walk. She told me that she would walk with her friends for 10 miles, and this was in her 80's! She said that some in the group (the young ones in their 60's) wanted to walk further to loose weight. She told me that she did it once, but that was enough, she'd just go back to walking 10 miles! Oh what an inspiration she was!

I wish I could have been more like her. I am not. I see the gloomy side of things and at times have a short temper. Tomorrow when the sunshines again, I'll be reminded of her brightness, her beauty, her smile, her willingness to do for others, of the joy that she brought to others as they crossed her path. So many lives she touched, so many lives for the better because they crossed her path.

One door closes and another opens. I miss her already. She was the last rose of summer and has now gone on to join those who passed before.






















Monday, December 29, 2008

Toffee

Well my Toffee arrived. It was waiting by the front door when we arrived home. I couldn't wait to open it. Gosh it smelled so good and taste... well I was delighted. this is really great toffee. Mr B loves it too! I wonder if we'll have any left by New Years Eve? What do you think?

Yum

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Past

I've been thinking a lot about Christmases past. Memories are sometimes all we have left. I am glad that my Christmas memories are happy ones.

Our Christmases were modest ones. Just a couple of gifts, and sometimes I did not get what I wanted. And just the same as in Glenn Beck's 'A Christmas Sweater' I just didn't realize what Christmas was all about and the wonderful things that I did have all those years.

Since both of my parents are now gone I have been cherishing those memories more and more. Mama loved the Christmas Carols and Hymns. Her favorite she told me was 'Silent Night'. If I'd have had to guess I would have chosen 'O Holy Night'. She loved to sing that song, and it was beautiful.




THIS IS MY DAD ON CHRISTMAS MORNING. SEE THE TINY FAKE FIREPLACE? WELL THAT'S OUR CHRISTMAS TREE ON THE MANTLE!




THIS IS ME ON SANTA'S KNEE. THIS WAS PROBABLY TAKEN AT MAISON BLANCHE. WE'D GO THERE EVERY YEAR TO SEE MR. BINGLE AND SANTA. I WAS ASKING SANTA TO REMEMBER TO BRING ME A DOLL. I THINK I WOUND UP WITH 50 DOLLS OVER THE YEARS AND THEY ALL WERE PLACED ON MY BED.


MAMA, ME AND THE TURKEY. I WAS THE BASTER AND THE TASTER. MAMA MADE THE BEST TURKEY'S AND A MEAT BASED DRESSING. YUM YUM




I'M THE CUTE KID ON THE LEFT.


THIS IS ME AND FATHER CHRISTMAS IN DUBLIN IRELAND. I REMEMBER HOW GREAT IT WAS TO HAVE JUST SEEN SANTA CLAUS IN NEW YORK THE DAY BEFORE!


THIS WAS ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE CHISTMAS GIFTS. I LOVED THAT PIANO.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Toffee Doesn't It Just Sound Delicious?


Some words are just enough to make your mouth water. Toffee. Oh yum. My friend Andrea has a blog post about this delicious Toffee over on her blog SwampSuburbia, which is a great blog. She's been raving about how great this candy tastes and personally I can't wait to try it myself. There's a contest going on so go check out her blog. You can check out her blog over at SwampSuburbia and get all the info on how to get your own toffee.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Natchitoches Festival







We drove on up to Natchitoches last weekend to see the Christmas lights. There were several private parties along the river. No chance getting into them.... they were heavily guarded by bouncer's wearing Security T-shirts. At least we got to listen to the cajun bands. We parked quite a bit away and walked to the river. We did a little bit of shopping. They have some great little stores. I LOVE anything fleur-di-lis and saw plenty of stuff. There were great electric switch plates, key chains, pillows, and paintings. I tried but could NOT resist the Craw-di-lis print. It looks mighty nice in my guest room. Since we got there so late in the day it wasn't too long before the fireworks display. video

Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow










Whew! Long night waiting up all night to see the snow begin to fall. I kept checking, the weatherman said it was due to fall at 4am. At 3:40 I gave up and decided to get a little nap. Hubby woke me up a few minutes later and we went outside and F R O Z E but did see a few flakes. Then I checked again a little later and the house across the street had a white roof.

I'm just so excited to see it!!!

Oh the weather outside is frightful

And the fire is so delightful

And since I've no place to go......


L E T I T S N O W L E T I T S N O W L E T I T S N O W

I'm really in the mood to make pralines now, if only for the excuse of hovering over a hot pot to keep warm. But that will have to wait, I'm off to check out the weather again once more.

Now this is just plain crazy.....




Saturday, November 8, 2008

See Ya Later Alligator.... Afta' While Crocodile.








As a kid I always loved

"See you later alligator"

to which my mother would say...

"After While crocodile"

Back in 1956 when we spend nearly a year in Northern Ireland I learned another line:

"Not tonight it's gellic night"

Not much use for that line when I returned back to Louisiana!!! Thank goodness!!!



But back to the gators.... For years we'd love to see the Alligators in Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. As a kid it was free to enter the zoo and we'd go almost every afternoon after we got home from school; we only lived a few blocks away. This past Tuesday all the schools were closed due to the schools being used as voting polls.  Originally we had BIG plans to do some home canning at Erin's house but.... (there's always a but) since the kiddie's were out of school we put off those plans and loaded up the kids and headed to the Jennings Oil and Gas Park to see the Alligators. Much more fun!  And personally I think it's an insane idea to try and can with ALL of the kids underfoot.  Anyway the decision was made to make a lovely day of it at the Alligator house.  It took about 20 minutes to find everyone's shoes and get them ON the kids and then get the kids IN the van.  That's the one great thing about being a Gramma, you don't have to hunt down shoes and struggle to get them on kids all of the time.  Bless the mama's out there, nothing is quick and easy.  All outings are filled with hurry up and wait, where's your shoes, come back, here, who needs to go to the toilet, hurry.  By the time you have most of the kids loaded there's always one who has left the scene and needs to be shephered back.  

Son in law said to take the little man with us  because he wasn't sleepy AT ALL,  and he didn't need a nap. Yeah right!!! Doesn't look awake to me.




Once inside the Alligator House we were told not to scream or make any loud noises as it would disturb the baby alligator and someone might get bit. My big fear was that little man might wake up.... he didn't and none of us got bit either.  It really was fun seeing the kids hold the little gator.  

It was a fun day. Got lots of brochures and plan on going back that way soon. Next time I'll bring hubby along. Then I'll suggest we stop at Fezzo's for lunch. Now they have some good food over there! The smells will just about make you think you've died and gone to heaven.   You know I hope they have some good cajun food in heaven!!!  When we eat at Fezzo's I never make it to dessert. I'm always stuffed from the main course.  Oh man, I'm making myself hungry just thinking about their fried catfish and their crawfish bisque.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Yakity Yakity Yak


We headed out of town this afternoon for a few days. We took a 4 year old grandson with us and he talked the whole way. I tried just putting in the earphones and listening to music but he would just yell louder until I'd answer him. I know I must have responded to at least 500 questions on the trip!

First he didn't want to stop to eat because he wasn't hungry, but when he found out we were stopping at Cracker Barrel which has a great store inside he was thrilled. He came out with a flashlight that has candy in it... one for him and one for the cousin we are going to visit.

Next it was a scream to go potty. Then it was a stop to potty again. Then it was jumping up and down in the seat needing to go again, but this time we were caught in a Texas sized traffic jam on the 610 loop around Houston, so we just pulled over and he did his business at the side of the freeway.

There we helicopters flying circles above us. I doubt they were after us for the breach in potty etiquette! Most likely due to the accident of an 18 wheeler that had lost his load of 2x4's on the roadway. But little man was so excited and he kept using his 'outside' voice yelling for me to look again!

We tried to convince him to play the quiet game but he wasn't buying it. In fact every 10 or 20 seconds he would just remind me that I was winning. I would have preferred to have won in silence! All the while he was chewing as much of his HubbaBubba Bubble gum that he could possibly fit into his mouth.

I am so glad we've arrived! He is playing with his cousin and having a great time!

I am so blessed to have him with me, but I feel so sorry for his mama. She must be so lonely, surely her day was boring without him asking her all those questions! I bet she just had a miserable day reading a book in a quiet corner or something.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Och and a Knee-0

I have now become an orphan.

Late last night the Girl From Belfast City passed away. She was 96 years old and went peacefully thanks to Hospice care which she had been receiving over the past few months. As much as it is the natural way of things for parents to die before the children, the pain of it is still there. All I can think about tonight is that at the age of 57 I have now become an orphan and I feel quite alone. Oddly I feel the pain of my father's death renewed. I thought I had dealt with that already but now find myself acutely missing him as well. All my childhood memories are tied to them, they are the ones who watched me grow. They knew all of my memories. Mom had a memory that was unbelievably strong up to the end. She could recall so many details of things throughout her life. I feel as though my details have now been lost; she was the historian.

Mom enjoyed life. She loved to sing, to tell stories, to hold a baby, to chat with friends. Over the last years of her life she lost most of her vision, nearly all of her hearing, her ability to do the things she wanted. What she did not loose was her determination to endure to the end. She never lost her faith, she never lost her gratitude.

I cannot say enough good things for Mom's nurse Pam and her CNA Deborah. Both cared for Mom so lovingly. Pam stayed with her til the end, refusing to go home and get some well needed and deserved rest. I am so grateful they were with us.

My family rallied round, some taking the day off of work, others coming when they could. Little children filling our home with the sweet sounds of children and helping us to not dwell too much on the empending loss. Life does go on and that is what those sweet little ones were showing me. Our little Spencer still kept coming to Maw Maw's bedside to check the nightstand drawer for Starburst candies. You see she had taught him that she would keep putting candies there for him as a special treat, in return he would give her a sweet hello and a kiss. He would crawl underneath her wheelchair to get to the drawer. 11 grandchildren were here yesterday, 5 of my 6 children were able to be hear along with most of the in-laws.

Some had to syphon gas out of other vehicles to be able to make the trip. They were coming from Houston where you can sit in a line for gasoline for 3 or 4 hours. With a dying grandmother there just wasn't time for that.

These past few months caring for my mother in my home has brought me many gifts. I am sure over the next weeks and months I'll be able to reflect on just what those gifts are. I miss her already. Dad died just over a year ago. No living parents so I guess I really am an orphan.

While I am trying to sort out where I am in my grief I prefer to think back on the happy memories. I have been thinking about my Dad too. Here my mother just died and yet I have wept for my Dad. I thought I was through that, but here comes another tidal wave of grief. I was looking at some pictures of him and mom and have come to the realization that my heart has a picture of him. That picture has him the age he was when I was about 5-10 years old. That's the face that my memories are drawn to. As I look at Mom's pictures I get different emotions depending on how old she and I were in the pictures. A tremendous sense of loss envelopes me when I look at much younger pictures and then a sense of helplessness arrives in the older pictures. I could not take away her ageing, I could not solve her hearing and sight problems.

Mom knew it was her time and she accepted it willingly even with great anticipation. She missed my dad and said she was quite anxious to meet up with him on the other side. She said she was excited to be with him and then the two of them would just wait for my brother and I when it becomes our turn to cross the veil. She mentioned the other day that one of the great things about living to such an old age as 96 is that she won't have long to wait on the other side for the rest of us to arrive.

I imagine that as I was holding her and weeping into her hair, catching those last familiar scents, that her mother and father were waiting to greet her with wide open arms and joy that equals or perhaps even exceeds all of my pain. I am sure as I sit here tonight that her sweetheart of more than 60 years was there waiting for her. The same group that will await my 'homecoming' in the future when my time here has been fulfilled. I dreamed last night (and it was such a short and yet vivid dream that it awoke me) I dreamed I heard her voice calling my father's name. Just the one word "Bill", so short but yet so real. I wish I could hear it again now.

My grandmother would say "Och and a Knee-0, my sweet lover. He must have been bad (ill) or he would have been here. Och and a Knee--0"

I miss you mom, and while you are physically gone from me you are so much a part of who I am that you will always be here in some way. I will not forget you. video

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Louisiana History Lesson

I did not write the following and don't know who did or I'd give credit where credit is due. I grow tired of people knocking my state so read, enjoy, learn.



For those of you who think Louisiana is just about Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, bayous, swamps, crawfish, hotly seasoned food and Cajuns here are a few factoids for your edification and enlightenment. (Don't have time to check out all of these so will just log them down as facts.)

ct



In case you didn't know...


A Little Louisiana history lesson


If Hurricane Katrina causing the levees to break in New Orleans is the only thing you know about Louisiana, here are a few more interesting facts about the Bayou State :

*Louisiana has the tallest state capitol building in the nation at 450 feet.

* The Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans is the largest enclosed stadium in the world.

* The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the longest over-water bridge in the world at 23.87 miles.

* Louisiana's 6.5 million acres of wetlands are the greatest wetland area in America.

* The oldest city in the Louisiana Purchase Territory is Natchitoches, Louisiana founded in 1714.

* The first bottler of Coca-Cola, Joseph Biedenharn, lived in Monroe, Louisiana and was one of the founders of Delta Air Lines, initially called Delta Air Service.

* Delta Airlines got its start in Monroe, Louisiana when Parish Agent, C.E. Woolman, decided to try dusting the Boll Weevil that was destroying the cotton crops in the Mississippi River Delta from an airplane. It was the first crop dusting service in the world.

* Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is the largest predominantly black university in America.

* Baton Rouge was the site of the only American Revolution battle outside the original 13 colonies.

* The formal transfer of the Louisiana Purchase was made at the Cabildo building in New Orleans on December 20, 1803.

* The staircase at Cretain Point, in Sunset, Louisiana was copied for Tara in "Gone with the Wind."

* Louisiana is the No. 1 producer of crawfish, alligators and shallots in America.

* Louisiana produces 24 percent of the nation's salt, the most in America.

* Much of the world's food, coffee and oil pass through the Port of New Orleans.

* Tabasco, a Louisiana product, holds the second oldest food trademark in the U.S. Patent Office.

* Steen's Syrup Mill in Abbeville, Louisiana is the world's largest syrup plant producing sugar cane syrup.

* America's oldest rice mill is in New Iberia, Louisiana at KONRIKO Co.

* The International Joke Telling Contest is held annually in Opelousas, Louisiana.

* LSU (The Ole War Skule) in Baton Rouge has the distinction of contributing the most officers to WW II after the U.S. Military academies.

* The Louisiana Hayride radio show helped Hank Williams, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash achieve stardom. It was broadcast from KWKH Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana from 1948 to 1960.

* Opelousas, Louisiana is the birth place of Jim Bowie, the inventor of the Bowie knife and one of the heroic defenders at the Alamo.

* The term Uncle Sam was coined on the wharfs of New Orleans before Louisiana was a U.S. Territory as goods labeled U.S. Were from "Uncle Sam."

* The game of craps was invented in New Orleans in 1813 as betting was a common activity on the wharves.

* When states had their own currency, the Louisiana Dix (French for ten) was a favored currency for trade. English speakers called them Dixies and coined the term Dixieland.

* New Orleans is the home of the oldest pharmacy in America at 514 Chartres Street in the French Quarter. These early medical mixtures became known as cocktails (guess they were good for what ails ya), coining yet another term.

* New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz, the only true American art form.

Jazz gave birth to the Blues and Rock and Roll music.

Viva La Louisiane!!!

Now you know!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Louisiana Daytrip

Mr retiredUPSman and I headed out the door this morning with no real idea of what we were going to do or where we'd end up. As it turns out we had a nice ride down HWY 27 to Holly Beach and then through Cameron and back north again. We ended our day out by riding along the river. The weather was great, bright sun, no rain for us, hot but not unbearable and the humidity while high wasn't too much. There was a great breeze along the coast. We saw people fishing and many were out there crabbing.









We only spotted one gator and he was a small one. You can barely see him in this photo.










This is a picture of the waves rolling in at Holly Beach. The beach was almost empty except for a few ladies picking up bottles and cans.

















These were taken along a river on our way home. Go further down the river the other way and you'll find houseboats too. There were lots of kids fishing along the river this afternoon. Everyone who lives along this part of the river seems to have HUGE dogs. Almost all of the houses are raised pretty high. When the river rises you can't get in or out as the road floods. It sure was a pretty view.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Cher Bebe


Last night some of the grandbabies were over for a visit (their mama's and daddy's came along too). While the older ones played a DVD game of Clue, I sat on the back porch watching the fireworks with the little ones. It was a real pleasant night out there was a light breeze and the humidity wasn't too bad (of course our back porch is screened in and so no mosquitoes had us for dinner.)

When it was time to go home this little bebe's mama had to search around to find him. First place she looked was in my mama's room. Mama is almost 96 and she puts out little candies for any grandchild that comes in and says hi to her. Little SJ visits her the most, in fact he's been known to lock himself in the room with her so she can continue to hand out the sweets!

His mama found him gone 'do-do' in the guest bedroom. He had climbed up in the bed and put himself to sleep. He looked so content and sweet we let him sleepover.

la bella