Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It felt great to get out on the lake yesterday. It was mid 80's, the sun was shining and even though the water is still cold the GRANDson's had to jump in for the first swim of the year!

The public launch at Prairie Creek looked pretty busy, but there really weren't that many boats out. We've had so much rain the water is still churned up and not the clear blue green we are used to.

It didn't stop people from having fun though. You don't have to get in the water to have a great time. 

I think a jet ski would be a lot of fun but we really don't have a place at the boat dock for it. Jerry thinks it would be a bad idea since I've had back surgery twice, maybe he's right.

This is the real reason we need one. Jackson is our oldest Grandson. but in my heart he's still 5. He wore these glasses when he was that age and I carry them on the boat for our youngest Grandson Ewan. Yesterday he put on these glasses that were once his and my heart broke a little. Cause he's growing up so fast, and I worry about him. I want him to have happiness and joy in his life always. I wish he'd never have to face hardships or heartbreaks or disappointments but there's not a person alive who doesn't have to go through a few of those days.

For right now, at 16 almost 17, it's not too complicated. In 6 days, summer vacation starts and I want to tell him that no matter how complicated he thinks his life is, there will never be a time in his life again that is so UNcomplicated. There will never be another summer when life is so smooth or carefree. It would "fall on deaf ears" so I will keep quiet and let him grow up... even if I don't want to!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Still On Post

Hubby here.  Tomorrow is Memorial Day so we decided to once again visit the old Confederate Cemetery in Fayetteville.  I'm pleased to report the grounds look much better this year.  Someone has mowed it and considering we have had over 20 inches of rain during the last four weeks, that is pretty amazing.
I wrote last year about this cemetery and some of it's history. 
Once again I am struck by the fact that the majority of the markers have no information carved into them.  No names, military units, no dates.  Nothing to indicate who rests below.  No way for family to know which spot holds an ancestor.  No way to know which spot to place flowers on.  The truth is, in the days before the Internet, CNN, and cell phones, these soldiers never returned home and their family probably never even knew where they were when they died.  They came from Missouri, Louisiana and Texas during a time most people, during their short life, never traveled more a few miles from where they were born.  These folks did.  They just didn't come home.

But, then there are the trees.  These ancient trees speak to me.  I wonder if they speak to each other?

Do they encourage each other to be strong?  In the face of decades of tornadoes, ice storms, wind storms, droughts, floods, and everything else that nature has offered them, they don't give up.  I saw a very large depression in the ground with the remnants of a rotten stump.  Do the trees whisper to each other that one of them has fallen?  Does this increase their resolve to remain strong until the younger trees can grow to a size to shade the soldiers?

They shade the grave of Gen. Slack.  And they shade the graves of all the unknown soldiers who rest with him. 

How long can they continue to stand and put out leaves each spring?

They remind me of a photo I saw of a 92 year old World War II veteran who had the opportunity to visit the new WWII memorial in Washington, DC.  He flew out on a Honor Flight from our airport wearing his old uniform.  My company helps sponsor these flights so that the few surviving WWII vets who are able to travel have the opportunity to see it.  Anyhow, in the picture he made a valiant effort to stand straight and salute.

The trees here are very much like this gentleman.  Proud to salute those resting there but too old to stand straight anymore.

I wonder if they will still be there next Memorial Day?  Will any finally fall when the next storm comes?  Or will they make it another year?  Just waiting for the small ones to relieve them of guard duty?

With quiet dignity and resolve they stand... and have stood.
These ancient guardians made of wood.
Watch and shelter the men who rest beneath
Their broken arms and leafy wreaths.
Their roots embrace the mighty flood
Nourished by their heroes' blood.

The cemetery is so quiet and isolated it seems impossible it can be so close to downtown Fayetteville. 

This stone is in the National Cemetery.  Like most of the stones in the Confederate Cemetery it honors someone unknown.  Someones father, husband, friend.  Somewhere there are people wondering what happened to him and where he can be.  I wish I could tell them to rest easy.   Because he is.  And he is honored on this Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lord love her, this Grandma shows us how to make a good pan of biscuits! Lucille here makes them like my Grandma did, using her bowl and her fingers to stir up the dough, then pinch them off, roll and flatten. I make them like my Mom, she always rolled them out and cut with her red Ekco biscuit cutter. This is an easy recipe that comes together in no time...

Momma's Biscuits
2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup butter flavored Crisco
3/4 cup milk or buttermilk
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Pay no attention to the baking powder here, I hadn't had enough coffee this morning so wasn't too clear headed! Just sift the self-rising flour into a bowl and cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter until the mixture is the consistency of fine cornmeal. Add the milk gradually and work into a soft dough.

Turn out on floured surface and knead for about half a minute. Remember what Lucille said, "I worked the dough too much and they were hard as rocks!" Roll the dough about 1/2" thick and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on a greased pan and bake about 10 minutes.

If you want to put a smile on someone's face today... make a pan of biscuits, set out the butter dish and a little honey! That's all you have to do and they will sing your praises...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

 Memorial Day is the traditional "start" to summer here and usually the campsites are full at the local parks. This year water covers many of the campsites and it's just too wet to think about camping. After a month of rain and cool temperatures, it's a lot different from last year. The water was 60 degrees the last time we checked, not warm enough to swim or ski unless you are part polar bear! Kids don't care how cold it is though, they are tough!

Most of us are just out on the water to unwind and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. There's nothing like having the whole day ahead of you with nothing but "down time!"

My favorite thing to do is to take pictures and just enjoy the scenery. It's a peaceful way to spend a day away from the noisy outside world...

... that is, unless Gavin comes along!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Peace and Quiet

Hard to do, huh? Finding that calm place when our minds churn out to-do lists is almost impossible. I wake up with plans in my head everyday. It might not be big plans, but I want to move forward. I don't like leaving things undone. But sometimes life dishes out a storm in our lives big enough that can't be cleaned up and put away in a few days.

If you are one of the lucky ones this morning, with a roof over your head and a cup of hot coffee in your hand... you can count yourself blessed beyond measure. Hug your kids, kiss your husband and plan something delicious for dessert tonight. This is that special day you've been waiting for...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

An Eye to the Sky

We're learning more about weather this year than I ever wanted to know. Me and the weather channel are best buddies. I've added a weather app to my phone and our land line gets calls from Benton County Preparedness. Technology has stepped up the way we get warned of bad weather just in time.

Keeping an eye on the sky isn't a bad idea either. When the clouds look ominous, it's probably a good idea to head home or someplace safe.

This spring, we've been in the red zone lots of times. Not a good place to be.

Rain, rain and more rain. The Ozarks are blessed with lots of lakes and they are all FULL.

Night time tornadoes are hard to see, radar is a Godsend to warn us.

 It makes for a sleepless night when you get this report before going to bed...

...or wake up to this hitting your roof!

I was glad to see the sun yesterday, even if it was short lived!

All pictures from Arkansas Severe Weather Watchers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The worst tornado in US history since 1953 took so much from Joplin, Missouri. We spent yesterday there with dozens of other volunteers helping serve meals to the thousands of people who have lost their homes, cars, livelihood... basically everything. So much devastation, as far as the eye can see. Homes, businesses and the saddest of all... lives were lost here Sunday when the F-5 tornado ripped through the heart of town. It took the top two floors of a solidly built hospital, those floors held cardiac patients and the NICU wards with the smallest and newest. It took schools and nursing homes and medical clinics. As it blew away walls of homes it took precious memories, pictures and Grandma's china and the wedding dress that was carefully folded and placed in a cedar chest waiting for their daughter to grow up. It took away trees in front yards where kids used to play, the same trees that provided shade for their parents or even grandparents. Joplin was a beautiful small town that was Home Sweet Home to 50,000 people. It was a great place to raise kids and buy a home and grow old. In only a few minutes their world has been turned upside down. You'd expect their spirits to be broken, but they have a strength inside that is amazing. In this close-knit southern town they lean on each other and appreciate any and all kindnesses that they receive. If you'd like to help out, it's as simple as making a donation to the Red Cross or giving blood. Whatever you can give will help them to rebuild their lives.

Crews from Sedalia, Mo. were cooking when we got there at 8 AM.

These folks traveled from Clarksville, Arkansas with a killer rotisserie smoker like they use on Food Network!

You can count on the big hearts of Tyson to open up their wallets when a disaster happens.

Crews from Monett and Noel, Missouri and Rogers, Arkansas came yesterday to help out with the cooking. The people to work a big effort like this are easy to find. They work day shift or night shift, but they make the time to help out.

Thanks to Lowe's Hardware who provided tables, chairs and canopies. Their generosity to the community with donations of supplies will never be forgotten. Home Depot was leveled Sunday night but has plans to rebuild which is great news.

Both Home Depot and Wal-mart have pledged $1million to the residents of Joplin to help recover and rebuild. It's not going to happen overnight, but it WILL happen. Missourians are strong, determined and they don't know the meaning of "quit!"
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