Hunting season eve


Well, it’s the evening before gun hunting here in Wisconsin.  Hunting is such an important part of my family’s life. The men in my immediate family prefer bow hunting over gun hunting by far, but there is something intriguing about this time of year.

 
Every year, religiously, I make “Papas chili”. Years ago when my husband was a child his dad made his special chili every hunting season and kept it in a huge metal pot warming on the space heater stove at the cabin. Some amazing memories were made there.

 
Once Mark and I started dating I got to partake in the tradition. To be totally honest I never cared for that chili. Mostly because they made it with venison😷. I didn’t grow up on venison so I didn’t care for it. Who knew I would soon grow to love it (made with beef of course) & actually crave it?!

 
Once we had kids we started bringing them to the cabin for lunch during hunting season. Papas chili was a hit. It was there that my son Austin would proudly wear his blaze orange that was adorned with his dad’s previous years back tags. He had quite a collection. He would stand next to the railing on the deck barely able to see over it resting his chin on his crossed arms just dreaming of the day he’d be big enough to go hunting himself.

My daughter Sam would also come to the cabin and sometimes bring her friends. They would sport the very fashionable plastic blaze orange vests and caps. I don’t think hunting was on her mind as much as just getting to the cabin to have fun.  Although she did prove to be quite the shooter once she decided she wanted to hunt. I say shooter, not hunter because she didn’t care to sit long and it rarely took more than an hour or so before her deer came in and she dropped it right in its tracks.

Opening day was and still is exciting to me. As soon as the guys would leave to go to the woods I would crack open the window a bit, no matter how cold-and sit with my coffee and just wait to hear the first gunshots. It was always very hard to tell which direction they came from. I’m directionally challenged the way it is and echoes didn’t help. But I always knew if it was coming from one of my family on our property. Then I would hear the four wheeler engine coming through the woods. I knew someone got one then!

 
To this day on opening day I still patiently wait and listen. It can be very bittersweet because now it is just myself and my husband . My kids are grown and on their own. They each go in their own direction and I still worry about them and their safety. Not everyone is careful out there. Not everyone was taught right from wrong. Not everyone was educated to do the right thing. Not everyone plays safe. But in the end I trust that all will be fine.

 
I await the day when our grandson Connor may be the little one excited to go hunting, or maybe he won’t want anything to do with it. He’s an animal lover for sure, but also a growing boy that could sure help provide for his family someday.

 
At any rate, I pray each hunter is safe and that there is a hedge of protection around each one.  Happy hunting!

✌️

Advertisements

Interview with my 90 year old Gram ❤️

I’ve had the privilege of spending the last few months with my 90-year-old gram. Her husband, my grandpa passed away suddenly leaving her whole world turned upside down. Many, many changes are happening in her life right now and it made me sit and think about her 90 years of life and how things are so different now than they were when she was younger. It made me think that I should utilize this time that I have with her and continue learning more and more about this  amazing & remarkable  woman. I decided one day to sit down and just do a little interview with my 90-year-old Gram. I never get tired of hearing her stories and this gave me an opportunity to go a little bit deeper and to learn more about what life has been like for her over so many decades. Sitting here  over tomato soup and lemon pie, reminiscing. I ask a series of questions that spark hours of conversation. 

What was daily life like for you growing up?

We played outside all the time. We were always playing ball. We played til we got called inside. In the winter we went skiing & on toboggans. In the summer we swam in the  many lakes that surrounded us. We swam right with the cows and the cowshit.  We didn’t have many chores. I was the one who usually milked our 1 cow, we only had one. We took turns with setting the table, clearing the table & wiping dishes. No one really helped my Mother cook. Every night she cooked a big meal, usually a roast, mashed potatoes & gravy, vegetables from the garden & always a dessert. Every Sunday we had chicken dinner. My Mother would chop their heads off, dip them in boiling water and pluck the feathers. My Dad was always busy doing something. He was a hard worker. He made wooden horses for little kids. He never sat still.  My Mother & Dad were always on the same page. We never did get spanked. We just KNEW when my Dad gave us “the look” that he meant business. 

What were your parents like?

They loved to dance, we all did. They weren’t very lovey in front of us kids but they sure must have been lovey because they had 6 kids! They were hard working people and very respected. My Mother was a great baker often times baking 6 loaves of bread each time. I remember one time seeing my Dad pinch my Mothers boob, right on the side and all she said was Kenneth! You cut that out! They gave us advice daily. Mostly -don’t smoke. We all smoked. Haha. My Dads sister smoked like a chimney and we thought she was soooo cool. 

What kind of clothing did you wear?

My Mother sewed skirts for us with a nice band around them. We always wore dresses or skirts with blouses. NEVER jeans, people might think we were farmers then ! 😂😂😂

What was your favorite music?

We were all musical. Delores and I played piano, everyone sat around us and sang. I loved to play hymns. But I really loved rock music. Later I loved the Beatles, Elvis, & The Beach Boys. 

What were holidays like?

Holidays were HUGE celebrations! We always got lots of presents. I remember one Christmas I got 17 dolls!!! I was probably 4-5 years old. Some of them cried. I remember taking them apart to see how they worked. We always had a lot of family that bought us gifts. We were very spoiled. Birthday parties were pretty much like holidays. Big meals and lots of presents. 

I asked my Gram what the holiday meals were like if her Mother made huge meals on a normal basis. She said they were just bigger and more

What were some of your favorite foods?

I liked everything. I wasn’t picky. My Mother was a good cook. Delores didnt like potatoes. There was a place under our table where she used to hide them. My Dad didn’t like carrots but he ate them and always told us to eat them too. Betty’s husband later introduced us to krub, he was Norwegian. It’s still a family favorite!

Did you ever get in trouble?

We were all pretty good kids. One time I came home and I really wanted to go to Richardson to the dance hall so I took my Dads car that he used for the mail route. The keys must have been in there. Well my Dad found out and he came right to that dance hall. I was smoking and drinking. I quickly stomped out my cigarette when I saw my Dad. My Mother said “Boy, are you going to get it.” My Dad had ink that was to be delivered to the school and he had kept it in the car so it wouldn’t freeze, and I had the car. The tires also had chains on them and I drove the entire way on pavement. I didn’t know. (😂)

Another time I was at the Rutabaga fest in Cumberland with my Mother and my Aunt Alice  and her baby. I decided I wanted to go to Almena to see my boyfriend, so I took the car. They must have ALWAYS kept those keys in there! (Haha.) I saw the time and had to hurry back so I was driving very fast. I heard a click, click, click…I blew a rod, but didn’t get in trouble because my Dad blamed it on the person who changed the oil.( Haha) My Mother was mad though, because the baby was crying and they wanted to sit in the car with her and the car was gone. 

One time we had planned a skip day in high school.  There were 70 kids in my class but only 7 skipped and I was one of them. The principal told some of the kids to find the people who skipped and tell them they had so much time to get back to school or they’d be expelled. He didn’t mess around! He called me in his office and asked why I skipped. I told him EVERYONE was going to skip not just me. He then asked me if EVERYONE jumped off a bridge would I? Haha. He then told me he’d inform my Mother & Dad about this. He did, they didn’t care. One girl got in a lot of trouble, probably beat, but my Mother and Dad just acted like la-de-da. 

What age were you allowed to date?
We always dated in groups. No one told us we could or couldn’t date, we just did. We didn’t have a chaperone, our parents trusted us. We never really got in trouble.

What was your favorite decade?

I would have to say 15-25. I LOVED my teen years. Probably because I could drive…. FAST!

What invention had the most impact on your life?

We never had  a telephone, so I’m not sure how all those boys could call and ask me out, maybe they drove to my house and just asked. We were the only house in our neighborhood who had electricity and running water. We were rich!(😂 haha) I guess I would say tv. That was really something when we got a tv! Oh and cars, because I love to drive! FAST!

Do you have any regrets?

I wish I could go back and help my Mother more. She worked so hard and we didnt help her as much as we should have. 

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned and what advice would you give to young adults these days?

Be kind. To everyone. Our family was raised to be kind and we were. Be kind. 

I had so much fun listening to Grams stories! I couldn’t let this opportunity pass to put down in writing the things we all think we will remember and seldom do. Today will be a day that goes down as one of the most memorable days I’ve had! 

(This all ended with, “What are you asking me all this for? You’re writing a story aren’t you? I could go to jail!” Haha Never a dull moment! 

✌️



Oh Kenny, the things you make me think…

Today as we sat eating supper (my Gram says calling it dinner is for the  “rich folk”-unless it’s Sunday, then it’s dinner)haha- but as we sat eating supper we started having a conversation about our earliest memories. 

Let me rewind a bit. My Gram has been staying with us this entire month after the passing of my grandpa. Yesterday on the radio Kenny Chesneys song “Don’t Blink” came on. That dang Kenny gets me every time. I’ve written about it before-first your kids are little then all grown with their own, don’t blink, getting poured a glass of milk instead of whiskey, that’s the good stuff, there goes my life, but now that little girl is my whole life, Dangit Kenny! You always make me cry. Oh and want to plant my toes in the water & patoot in the sand and maybe dream about having a beer down in Mexico.

Anyhoo…. I hear the lyrics “a hundred years goes faster than you think, don’t blink”. I was sitting next to my Gram and thought, “Man, she’s 90, I wonder if she’d say it went faster than she thought.” It made me think of how much has changed in her 90 years of life. Then made me wonder to myself what her earliest memory was. She told me it was walking with her dad and she was smarting off, he squeezed her hand and shook it-never said a word, never hollered and it was at that point she knew he meant business and all he had to do was give her a look and she knew she better behave. She figures she was maybe 5 years old. Wow, to remember something some 85 years ago so clearly. 

This made me think of mine. After much brain racking, a few messages and a long phone call to my mom I’ve gotten it narrowed down to around age 3. This was when that nasty mean neighbor boy pushed me down on the sidewalk and split my chin open. I don’t actually remember it happening but I remember the sidewalk and what the house looked like that we lived in. 

That whole conversation sparked so many memories and names of people I’d forgotten about, places we lived, things we did. Flashback for sure. It’s funny the things we remember. The things that stick out to us. 

I hope when I’m 90 ( if I’m blessed enough to make it that long) I have the same recollections as my Gram. I hope I never lose the ability to tell a good story, to make people laugh at all the crazy things that happened to me throughout my life. 

May I appreciate all moments in time, whether good or bad because you don’t get those moments back to redo how you’d handle them. You do the best you can with each day you are given and at the end of it you pat yourself on the back and say way to go, you made it!  With any luck you will have an abundance of wild tales & words of wisdom  to tell your grandkids someday.

✌️

Childhood revisited

Lately I’ve been thinking back to my childhood. Thinking of my earliest memories.

I remember getting a spanking from my Grandma because I refused to get out of the swimming pool. She walked right into  the pool with her shoes on and spanked my butt.

I remember living in a trailer court with my Mom and playing outside with friends. I can remember playing in a sandbox with one friend in particular and both of us ate the sand. That’s not just a joke, kids really did that crap! Little did I know that sand eating friend and I would carry that friendship into high school, and get in lots of trouble together! Haha

I remember taking a can of Coke into the bathtub with me, shaking it up and then cracking it open. It sprayed everywhere. But it didn’t matter because…I was in the bathtub!  I’m not exactly sure why I did that…?

I remember moving onto a dead end road. There were all sorts of kids in the neighborhood. We didn’t have playstations or cell phones, computers or electronics. We had kickball, a swimming pool, a park nearby. Most nights you could find us outside playing kickball in our backyard. Our yard was pretty big but if we combined parts of the other two yards we had a pretty huge kickball field. We used to actually enjoy raking leaves just to jump in the piles. We would take turns stuffing each other’s clothing with leaves to make us all look fat. We’d jump in the piles and then rake them all back up again, only to jump in again spreading them all over the yard.

I remember having walnut fights in the backyard. Picking up those green fuzzy balls and nailing each other with them. Man did that hurt!

I remember an old abandoned building in our backyard. We used to go inside and hang out. It was really kinda creepy but yet we felt so cool to hang out in there. Until one day we climbed up top in the rafters and one of the kids started to fall,grabbed a wire which turned out to be electrified. He got shocked very bad and fell to the ground. That was a pretty scary thing! He ended up being just fine.

I remember going swimming every single day in the summer unless it was raining. At the 3:00 break we would sneak down to the park and swim at the old swimming hole that my mom and her friends used to swim at. We were told to never swim there, that it was dangerous. Probably why it seemed more enticing to do it.

I remember at one point telling my mom I was running away. She didn’t try to stop me! I kept telling her “I’m really going to you know!” She said something to the tune of “Ok, I hope no on kidnaps you!” I remember packing my little blue suitcase and walking to the end of our dead end road. I got to the end where it met the highway and sat on the curb. Where did I think I was going? I sat for a while and noticed a few cars slowing and staring. What if my mom was right? Did they want to kidnap me? So I decided to go back home. I walked in and remember mumbling something like “I don’t feel like going today, maybe tomorrow.” Haha

I remember sitting on the toilet singing my heart out only to get the crap scared out of me by my little sister who was hiding in the closet in the bathroom. She jumped out and I about died!

I remember babysitting for cousins way before I should have been old enough to,but doing just fine! I credit my love for kids and wanting to nurture everyone to that very thing.

I remember Christmases at my Grandmas house where there was an adult table and a kids table. I remember pranking my cousin all the time! We’d make up excuses for her to go ask the adults something and we would put salt in her milk. She’d come back and take a drink and whine and get mad at us. We’d laugh and laugh. Then when she went to tattle on us we’d pour more in! She fell for it every time! It never-got-old!

I remember spending time at my grandmas with cousins and playing in the snow. Because I was the oldest I had to pull my cousins around on the sled. The sled…that was actually a flattened out cardboard box…that you couldn’t pull, you had to push. Because it wasn’t a sled, it was a cardboard box… And not very easy to push either by the way. And I always pushed because I was the oldest…. That really sucked. Haha

I remember skipping confirmation to go to the corner gas station to buy candy.

I remember babysitting my sister and brother and talking on the phone allllll night while my parents were gone. I also remember one time imparticular that my sister decided to make a cake while I was on the phone. She decided to make it on the kitchen floor. She took all sorts of crap out of the cupboard, dumped it on the floor and mixed it up…with her hands.  What a mess. I couldn’t even tattle on her because I was supposed to be watching her. Haha

It’s funny, I didn’t think I could remember that much about my childhood. I always thought it must have been really boring,that nothing really stood out. One of my own kids even says all the time how she remembers very little of her childhood. But I’m here to tell you if you quiet yourself and allow yourself to just think….it will come to you. Things you thought you’d never remember will come back to you. Some of the dumbest little things…like shaking a can of Coke in the bathtub or singing your heart out on the toilet. It all comes back, and you realize that you made some pretty great memories as a child,that there is always something to appreciate about your upbringing and your younger self.

Challenge: reflect on your childhood and what made it so great. There’s always something to appreciate in life. Always.