BANISHED… BUT NOT FOREVER

“I don’t remember what it was I  said one day. I must confess, from a very young age I was prone to say things without thinking. Whatever it was, it offended (her).  I was banished from the farm for a year when I was twelve.”

“I don’t remember what it was I  said one day. I must confess, from a very young age I was prone to say things without thinking. Whatever it was, it offended (her).  I was banished from the farm for a year when I was twelve.”

*  *  *  *

What a wonderful lady!
 Mrs. Kelly and her family came to be caretakers
of  the County Farm
 across the road from my childhood home.
 
I was young when the Kelly family came to live in the neighborhood.
 I adored the majestic building 
 easily seen from our front yard.
88 years old..In front of our house..County Farm in the distance.
It was a very large, very old building 
Elderly folks who couldn’t afford a home and needed someone to care for them, came  there to live.
 Some folks called it the Poor Farm.
To me, it was never poor.
The home always displayed a dignity
which deserved the regal title,  
 “County Farm”.
When I was very young, and began to visit the Farm,
there were seven older people living there. 
A  section of the large house was set aside for their comfort.  
Mrs. Kelly cooked the meals for the residents.  One of the more able ladies, whose name was “Rilla”, helped with the table settings of the long dinner table in their separate dining room.
  Rilla always turned plates and cups at each place upside down before the meal. First the plate, then the cup. I was fascinated.
  Mother wasn’t happy when I tried to set our dinner table the same way.  It seemed quite picturesque to me.
 I could never understand Mother’s disdain for it.
On the front side of the house, which I passed on my way to visit with Mrs. Kelly, there was a porch.
The older ladies often sat there in rocking chairs, watching the world (and me) go by. 
On one such occasion, I noticed one of the ladies with a newspaper spread out across her stomach as she sat quietly in her chair.
I asked her why she had it there and she said,
“It’s to keep my bowels warm.”
Now that’s a remedy, to this day, I would never have thought of on my own.
 The Kelly family had a grown son and daughter pursuing careers in far off parts of the country. Their youngest daughter still lived at home and was soon to graduate from high-school.
I don’t remember what it was I  said one day. I must confess, from a very young age I was prone to say things without thinking. Whatever it was, it offended Mrs. Kelly.  I was banished from the farm for a year when I was twelve.
It was to be a lifelong lesson.
Be careful what you say. Be aware, if you can, of how the other person may be receiving your words.
For the next year, I didn’t follow my favorite path to the County Farm.  At  thirteen I ventured a return.
 No ill feelings were shown toward me from Mrs. Kelly.
 Our friendship continued. 
Many times I watched Mrs. Kelly kneading a very large pan of bread dough in the County Farm kitchen.  I now bake my own bread and would never be able to knead such an amount of dough at one time; although now in my adult life, I am a larger woman than Mrs. Kelly was.
(She was strong and determined with many responsibilities in life; perhaps I should think about that.)
My bread recipe dictates kneading the dough for ten minutes.  I’m sometimes able to stick with it until five minutes have passed.  Mrs. Kelly would no doubt suggest that the bread would be finer if I followed directions.
 When visiting at just the right time, the aroma of baking bread always greeted me near the kitchen door.  Not far behind me, there were bread customers waiting to purchase a wonderful loaf of Mrs. Kelly’s homemade bread.
  As I recall, she charged them $1.00 per loaf; they were huge.
Long gray hair, was always carefully braided and wrapped around her head.
 Mrs. Kelly never walked anywhere slowly.
Always on the move,
she hurried to get things done.
The kitchen and her family’s living quarters were always neat and very clean.
The dishes were done, everything in place.
In the pantry, next to the kitchen,
always sat a basket of eggs
waiting for customers
who wished to purchase the freshest eggs in town.
Sometimes Mrs. Kelly allowed me to go to the chicken coop with her, to gather the eggs. I loved it.
One summer, I observed Mrs. Kelly preparing a bountiful meal for eight men who had come to help Mr. Kelly with the threshing.
Never have I seen nor smelled such a wonderful array of food.
I remember the table and men filling their plates again and again.
   No one ever left Mrs. Kelly’s dinner table hungry.
As years went by,
Mrs. Kelly and I became closer friends. 
When I graduated from high school near the top of the class,
as had her son and daughters,
 Mrs. Kelly invited me into the room
where graduation pictures of her children
were displayed on an old upright piano.
She was very proud of her children.
There sat my graduation picture,
now displayed next to those of her children.
This was Mrs. Kelly’s way of showing how much she cared for me.
She was proud of my achievements too.
There couldn’t have been any clearer proof.
 
After high school, I became employed in the town
in which I had grown to adulthood.
 Arranging to arrive for work a half hour early,
I could spend time visiting with
Mrs. Kelly
in the County Farm kitchen.
 She was often baking bread for her special customers.
The aroma of those wonderful baking loaves
continued to greet me at the door.
A few years later,
I married and went to live in a neighboring town. 
Opportunities to visit Mrs. Kelly were few.
I felt lonely and sad without friends I’d left behind in the town
where I’d grown to adulthood.
I often shared my feelings with Mrs. Kelly.
She offered me the understanding of a caring friend.
At the birth of our first child,
Mrs. Kelly came to the hospital to visit. As I recall, that was the only occasion on which I saw Mrs. Kelly outside the walls of her home at the County Farm.
Putting her hand on my arm as she stood near my bed, she said;
 “Now you’ll never be lonely again”.
 I needed to hear that.
Time passed.
One day, while visiting in my former hometown,
I decided to go to spend some time with Mrs. Kelly at the Farm.
She wasn’t home.
I was told she was in the hospital.
Going directly to the hospital,
I sat down in the waiting room.
Just then, Mr. Kelly came through the inner door.
He was crying.
 I was informed by a nurse,
 Mrs. Kelly had suddenly gone into cardiac arrest,
and died.
Our times together had ended,
but as you can see,
 memories have remained.

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Photography By Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck
copyright@2021
 
 
My first-born…July 21, 1956….Craig
Bread dough rising in my kitchen today..

 

LIFE IS LIKE A DREAM

Ahead  were only dreary, boring days and years of waiting to get “old.”  There was nothing new to do nor places to see or ROADS to travel.

“When you come to a fork in the road,

take it.”

(Yogi Berra had the right idea.)

I love to  reminisce and write about bygone times, remembering the people I’ve known, especially those who have made a difference in the me I’ve become at the age of 86. I once thought 86 was really, really old.
It isn’t.
Actually, I once believed that 50 was old. As I recall, 50 was old when my grandmothers were alive.
I was devastated the day I turned thirty. Life was over, I was no longer “twenty-something”. Looking forward, there was nothing left to life.
Ahead  were only dreary, boring days and years of waiting to get “old.”  There was nothing new to do nor places to see or roads to travel.
There were no college years for me.
When I am required to check off my level of education on an application, the box to check must be “graduated high-school”.
My Dad always commented, ” Some folks attend college and still don’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain.”
I feel good about his comment because my high school education helps me to remember to carry my umbrella on a cloudy day.
That reminds me, a week or so ago I purchased a new umbrella. It was very easy to raise, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to lower it when I got inside a building.
You’ll be happy to know, with a great deal of concentration, I finally figured out how to  return it to its original closed position by pushing the little “down” arrow located right underneath the “up” arrow.
Who says a high school education isn’t worth much?
One could hardly think of me as a world traveler, but I’ve learned much about life from the shores of Michigan’s largest inland lake.
Married sixty-two years, my husband and I raised three sons. It’s difficult to imagine someone as young as I, having sons who are now in their fifties and sixties.
Facts are not always as they seem.
Life is like a dream.
I heard someone make a statement just the other day about “alternative” facts.
(Perhaps I should research some of them when describing my attributes.)
copyright©2020
Photography By Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

* *

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one to where it bent in the undergrowth.
And took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day,
Yet knowing how way leads unto way,
I doubted that I would ever be back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood,
And I, I took the road less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
robert frost mailbox

“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

We traveled to New Hampshire many years ago and found this old mail box residing on a narrow  gravel road in front of  one of  the summer homes of Robert Frost. It’s a lovely place. This writing of his has always been my favorite. I carry a copy of it with me at all times.
I’ve read it over and over.
The only thing I lacked, was a photo of two roads, diverging into the yellow woods, in the fall of the year.
Then one day, when driving the woodland trails, the photo opportunity at the top of this page appeared before me. A perfect picture of life as Yogi saw it.
It spoke to me. Perhaps it will speak to you…
thatremindsme.net

Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

GUESS WHO RAN THE RED LIGHT

Trying to navigate the unfamiliar left hand turn at a cross section,
I didn’t see the traffic light.
It was blinking red, apparently.

(Here’s a clue for the insurance company, it wasn’t me.)

3ab82-jeep2bleft2bfront2bwheel
I’ve always bragged about my driving record.
As with many, I started driving at the age of 16.
Granted, I’ve never traveled much cross-country
or in a foreign land, (such as Canada).
Still, no person of the law enforcement
has ever flagged me down on the highway.
I’ve always been quite proud of that.
 Oh yes, there was that time in New Hampshire.
Returning to the campground where our fifth-wheel awaited;
my husband was tired so I was driving. 
It was almost midnight.
You may wonder why the time would be of importance.
There were no cars to be seen on the road through town…(Manchester, New Hampshire.)
Trying to navigate the unfamiliar left hand turn at a cross section,
I didn’t see the traffic light.
It was blinking red, apparently.
However, the red flashing light of the police car
in the rear-view mirror caught my attention.
The traffic officer appeared at my window.
Why he was cruising this deserted road at mid-night,
I’ll never know.
“I didn’t see the light, officer”, I said.
“I was searching for the turn and guess I was preoccupied”.
He was very nice and quietly said,
“You’ll need to be more careful in the future”.
There was no ticket…whew!
Now let me think.
The only time I received a traffic ticket
was in 2013
when
I was traveling a nearby local highway,
apparently at the speed of 74 mph
in a
55 mph zone.

A township officer, who was hiding in a nearby forest,
must have believed she had a live one,
and followed me persistently
until I pulled to the side of the road.

Informing me she had clocked me at 74 mph in a 55 mph zone,
she said “Don’t you have a cruise control?”
“Yes officer” I said, “but it doesn’t work”.
“I’ll have to write you a ticket”, she said.
Standing by the car she began to fill out the citation.

“I have not had a ticket since I started to drive at the age of 16,”
I said, smiling quietly.” I suppose I will have to quit telling my friends
I’m a “virgin driver”.
(I was quite sure she’d noticed my birth year of 1935
on the driver’s license.)
An understanding smile crossed her face; I’ve never figured out what it was that she was “understanding”…maybe it was something I said.
“I’ll just write the ticket for 60 mph.”
“But be careful you don’t get another within the next three years
or your insurance will increase.” 
Thanking her profusely, I drove on my merry way,
silently cherishing my sense of humor
which was inherited from my Mother.
* * *
Continuing:
Last Monday I drove a few miles down the road to our local McDonalds to buy myself a Big Mac and an order of fries. Just as I left home, my son said “Pick me up a large strawberry shake”.
 I did.
As I recall,
the Big Mac and fries
have never been seen again…but that’s another story.
As is my usual routine, I drove through the Wal-Mart parking lot in order to re-enter the main road at the stop light. It’s much safer.

The light turned green and I moved forward.

 In the flash of a moment, I found myself on the far side of the road; about the same time that I felt something hit my left arm rather harshly. (It turned out to be the air-bag.)
A nice gentleman came over to the car
and asked me if I was all right.
“Yes, I’m fine”, I said.
(Later was when I found the scrapes and bruises and aches,
but I digress.)

A glance toward the dashboard on the passenger side revealed my glasses, which I had been wearing, sitting there. Now, that’s interesting. Wonder how they got over there.

My son came to give me a ride home
and the wrecker took my car away. (I think I gave someone my home phone number to call and that’s how my son knew where to find me; sitting in the middle of the highway in a somewhat crumbled car.)

A few days later the insurance adjuster called to inform me
the car was totaled. (Well duh…that wasn’t hard to see.)

I now have a new car,
a new appreciation for driver side airbags,
an understanding of the need for seat belts
and some other things I haven’t thought of yet.

The Other Car-The One That Ran The Red Light
 I can remember that.
 
copyright©2018
Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck

http://www.thatremindsme.net

Continue reading “GUESS WHO RAN THE RED LIGHT”

LETTER FOR A SOLDIER RETURNING HOME

The older you grow the greater is your responsibility toward life, society, and the two people who created you, your Mother and Father.

 

A letter To Don..from Bill….

 
Note: To be opened the last morning you are at sea on going home to the USA.

16 February 1953

Dear Don,
When I came overseas many moons ago, I was sent with a letter from my Mother.  In it she stated how on long voyages years ago, people were sent with ship messages. There was then an age of letter writing which seems to have passed, except for the ghosts that may rove the skeleton of some long lost ship.  There was then wind in the sails and the creak of the boards of the ship at night.  There could be heard the rustle of silk in women’s dresses.
Men and women were probably doing just as we do today if given the opportunity.  That is, jumping from bunk to bunk.
 Right now, right at this living moment, I am writing this on the usual, sunless, dull, German day in the office of the captain.
In time, all our importance melts away, and yet as a part of history we remain an important factor in time.  The way you live, the love you have for life, the love you have for others and the understanding of them, the love you have for a woman and your unborn children are of great importance.
Whether you are ever known as an individual, it is the way you are which makes the “To Be” of a better world.  Now you are nearing home to the land that I love so deeply.  I would want to claim that land in a deeper way than you can in your youth.
Someday you will know what I mean.  Someday you will know that the earth in a bog swamp when you are out duck hunting is the cleanest mud in the world.
 Don’t ever forget that part of your life which you spent in a foreign land.  There were circumstances you did not like. They have helped to keep that mud as clean as it is. Sometimes Don, I hope you are looking at that lost land where you like to lose yourself.

You’ll find the air just a bit sharp.  You will like the smell that time of year.
Whether it is summer, fall, winter or spring, just breathe deeper because you are alive.
 God is in Nature and you are close to it and to Him.  In college it would be called Pantheism. I’d rather call it the awareness of Don knowing Don.  You can call it whatever.  It doesn’t matter what you call it just so you remember that when it happens and it will.
 The sea where you read this is deep.  Your feet will soon touch shore. Right now you are pipeline and lost.
Soon the inevitable pattern will establish itself.  You will be a civilian with all the responsibilities of one.  To drive safely, to love right, to build a home, and to vote are small and important things.  To be aware when you’re on a hunting trip
that you are the greatest being God ever made is important too.
That’s about all I have to say, Don.
This is my shipboard letter to you with the exception of one thing.
The more you grow the more you will become aware of this.
The older you grow the greater is your responsibility toward life, society, and the two people who created you, your Mother and Father.
Your friend….
Meade

 

April 22, 1930-February 24, 2017

* * *

My husband, Don, passed away in 2017.
In going through his special drawer for saving things important to him,
 I found this letter. 
I didn’t know his friend “Meade”.
 I don’t need to know him. He was a special man.
Although we shared 62 years of marriage, 
I didn’t know Don as a soldier, when he was newly discharged from the service.
 He would have celebrated his 87th birthday in April of 2017.
 His great respect for God, family and nature never ceased.
I hope you enjoyed this special letter
from “Meade”….
copyright©2017
Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck

http://www.thatremindsme.net

 

WHERE’S THE BEEF?

 When lilac bushes appear in a vacant field,
we know an old Michigan farm 
once stood nearby.

Musings of a Homemaker – Houghton Lake Resorter Newspaper
Spring 1964

Strolling down our lane 
one may be overwhelmed by the aroma of lilacs and apple blossoms.  Tiny pink flowers nod gently in the spring breeze.

 When lilac bushes appear in a vacant field, we know an old Michigan farm once stood nearby.

We are careless with adjectives;

 lovely, cute and sweet. 


When something is found worthy of a special description, 

words are used

 in a careless fashion.

They are overdone and unimpressive.

Have we become a nation of adjective droppers?

Little girls are sweet and cars are sweet. 
Dresses are sweet.
Fishing rods are sweet.  Sugar is sweet

The weather is lovely.
 Your wife is lovely.
 Children are lovely. 
Dinner is lovely.

Freckles are cute. 

Your husband is cute.
Puppies  are cute.
 Babies are cute.

Everything is sweet, cute and lovely.

WHERE’S THE BEEF?

Teen-agers are sometimes
 juvenile delinquents.
 We may have delinquent taxes.

Senior citizens may have
 gray hair.
Gray haired people may be
 senior citizens.

Phrases overused
are lost.

 Adjectives can become
 bruised, broken and meaningless.

Let’s save them for another day.

***

(This all seemed like a good idea in 1964)

And then..

Where are we now?

What happened to the adjectives? 
They were sweet, cute and lovely.

 Now it’s PC…G….and LOL.

It may be ESP and APP.
We are politically correct. 

Or are we?

Oh, and by the way, we type “PC” for “politically correct” now.

Those in the know understand 
what we mean.

We  type G for “grin.” LOL
  means “laugh out loud.

ESP Stands for

  “extrasensory perception“;

APP

 for “application.”

We type 

COOL for “good, 
wonderful,
 smart 
and up to date”.

A perfectly wonderful language
 has been simplified 
to nothing. 

Children in elementary school are not being taught cursive writing. Much of their writing is unreadable.

Making matters worse,
many young people
cannot “read” cursive writing.

Think about it!

The United States Constitution
was produced in cursive writing.

President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

was written by him, as the story goes, in cursive writing,
as he was seated on a train
on his way to Gettysburg.

Why have we decided

to avoid teaching cursive writing
 to generations of  young Americans
who will never be able to read
those original, historical papers?

In response to questioning,

 a teacher informed me,

 “Within ten years
 no one will be using handwriting.
 Everyone will be using computers.”

Think of the handwriting experts

who will be unemployed.
(That’s a joke.)
With this information in mind,
 the overuse of “adjectives ” becomes cute and darling.

You can now describe almost anything at all
with the terms, “sweet and lovely,”.
Over-used adjectives of the past, may have become the only remaining,
 desirable speech.

Our English language
 is bruised and broken.
 It has been transformed into 
disconnected letters.

Bring back the adjectives.
 Bring the verbs and the adverbs.

I long for them.

Is it just me?

copyright©2018
Photography By Mary Anne Tuck

http://www.thatremindsme.net

copyright@2018