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The Apron

When I was a little girl I loved to wear an apron.  I remember the feeling of tying an old apron around my waist.  The ties were so long they wrapped back around in front and tied in a bow.  I would ask my mom if I could clean.  Of course she whole-heartedly agreed to that proposition.  I would load my large apron pockets with necessary cleaning supplies, and my cleaning would last about 8 minutes.  Or less.  There was a novelty in wearing the apron, but not the chores that came along with it. 

In high school, my waitressing job required us to wear a maroon dress with a white ruffled apron over it.  My grandmother would starch and iron my apron until it stood alone.  Each evening after I came in from work, I would hand her my apron.  As I got ready for bed, she would sit at her kitchen table, empty my pockets, stack and count my tips in nice little piles and proudly tell me how much money I made. 

Now as a grown-up, I own one apron.  It is cow print.  It’s a full length apron that slips over the neck.  I rarely wear it, but I love it all the same.  Over time, aprons have transformed from practical to cutesy.  Here’s a tribute to the apron I’ve been saving in my email inbox.  It makes me happy.  And nostalgic.  I’d like to share it with you.

The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
  It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears. 
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
 
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.  And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.  Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.     
 From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.  In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
 
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.  When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
 It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that “old-time apron” that served so many purposes.

It’s funny how Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool,
Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

There may not be another article of clothing that carries as much love as an apron.

  

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Journey to the Land of Less is More Mile 3: Just Say NO!

 About seven years ago I lived in a small 2 bedroom house on a busy street named Somerville.  It was a little tan house with dark brown trim.  There was nothing fancy about the place.  It didn’t have a garage, or a second bathroom, or a fireplace, but it had a quaint porch.  It was an extension of my living room.  My dad bought me a wooden rocking chair from the Cracker Barrel.  One morning I went out to sit in my chair, and nearly busted my tailbone.  It had been thieved in the night.  Some low-life had crept upon my porch in the dark and stolen my rocker.  I felt violated.  And my dad bought me another second one.  He said he hopes whoever stole it gets a splinter in their butt when they rock in it. 

I had my sister’s porch swing hanging from the edge with a garland of sunflowers twisted around the chains.  I had a few plants, a decorative flag that hung from a pillar, it was an inviting place.  I sat on that porch every evening, every Saturday, every Sunday, watched the cars drive past, and waved at people I knew.  And some I didn’t.  Friends and family would come and sit with me.  We’d swing or rock and visit.  It holds good memories, even if I did get my rocker stolen.

Also in that house there was a small pantry. Just two doors that opened up with narrow little shelves.  Inside those doors I hung my “pantry emails”.  The emails that touched me.  The ones that really made an impact. The ones I wanted to read.  And read again. 

I began blogging in November of 2008.  I really do not remember why I started blogging, except for needing a place to write my thoughts and stories down.   My very first blog post was a copy of a “pantry email” entitled Great Advice.  I reread it today, and decided to camp awhile on advice number four.

 Say No to projects that won’t fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.

In my journey to the Land of Less is More,  I want to unclutter not only my surroundings, but also my time.  After reflecting on how I am spending my time,  I found some places to say No.

To my house I say No!  No to the pointless cleaning that only dirties itself up again. 

To the book I am reading, I say No!  You are mediocre, and not worth my time.  I hope you turn out well.

To the barking dog next door I say No!  Although you are not a project, my mental health is on the line here.  You. Will. Stop. Barking.  Although I cannot state how as it may be used against me in a court of law.

And  to my sister Jolea, my exercise partner, my FIRM buddy, I must say No.  No to the workouts.  No to the jumps and the squats.   I am 2 workouts behind schedule.  I don’t want to do it.  And it is making me fatter.

By this I mean the exercise, not the box of 24 packages of Rolos I’ve eaten since Christmas.

 

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The Stranger

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mum taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger… he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem to mind.

Sometimes, Mum would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet.

(I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honour them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home – not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our long time visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn’t permit the liberal use of alcohol but the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing..

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked… And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents’ den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. 

 

  

 

 

  

His name?….

  

  

We just call him ‘TV.’



This was an email I received recently.

It really made me think.

My momma says it is all Rhett Butler’s fault, for when he said, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a d*&n”, that was the beginning of cussing on the TV, and the world’s gone to pot ever since. 

 

 

My challenge is still out there for you to turn off the TV for one day, not a day when you’re gone from home shopping or at a ball game, but a weeknight or even a Saturday at home, when it’s a real sacrifice.

 

We didn’t have electricity and that meant we didn’t have T.V.  We had darn poor radio too.  So that meant we did the strangest things at night … we talked to each other!”  WADDIE MITCHELL, Cowboy Poet

 

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How time flies

One year ago today I posted my first blog ever. 

And then I put it away. 

And then I drug it back out.

And then I put it away. 

And then I drug it back out.

The month of October has been my busiest blogging month and I have a renewed commitment to continue blogging.  I didn’t know what I was doing a year ago.  News Flash:  I don’t know what I’m doing now.  My first blog was actually copied from a beautiful email I received.  A pantry email.  The kind you print out and hang on the inside door of your pantry so you can read it again and be reminded of it’s good advice.   I have a few of those, even though I don’t have a pantry door.  I used to.  Another story for another time.

 My husband is a bit embarrassed by my blog. I don’t think he has ever read it, but he has come up behind me here at the desk and eyeballed it a time or two.   After looking at our niece blow bubbles with her nose, he proclaimed it an embarrassment and couldn’t believe I put all this out here for the world to read.

Uh, I have 3 followers. 

Uh, and they’re all related. 

So, in honor of my one year blogging anniversary, I have another pantry email to share. 
A GREAT RECIPE…
1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Talk to God about what is going on in your life. Buy a lock if you have to.

3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, ‘I am thankful for______________’

4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli , almonds & walnuts.

6. Try to make at least three people smile each day..

7. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

9. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

11. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

12. You are not so important that you have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

13. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.

14. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’

17. Forgive everyone for everything.

18. What other people think of you is none of your business.

19. GOD heals everything – but you have to ask Him.

20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

21. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch!!!

22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

23. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for__________.

24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

25. When you are feeling down, start listing your many blessings. You’ll be smiling before you know it.

I’m pretty good at #1 and #2.  I do those simultaneously, pray and walk.  I don’t smile though.  I should try to add that in.  I think my cheeks might start hurting after a block.

I need to work on #14, 18, and 22. 

How about you?  What are you improving on?