Uniform Repair

Uniform tapeSchool uniforms, no doubt, allow for calmer, early-morning dressing for school. Before that happens, though, someone has to either shorten the uniform skirts, slacks, and shorts, or let the hem down. Buttons, too, often require attention. Rare is the “new” uniform as most are handed down from an older sister, cousin, or friend.

Often times it falls to the grandmother to ready the uniforms. I have done my share of pinning, hemming, securing buttons, and pressing multiple layers of pleats. I can reduce a waistband of twenty-six inches to twenty inches.

Before school started this year, my granddaughter and I spent several hours trying on uniforms, measuring and pinning hems, and repositioning waistband buttons. All went well until the last skirt.

“I’m sorry, Nana, but last year the day before Christmas vacation, the hem was coming out of my skirt. We were running late, and Mom said to just use masking tape. I couldn’t find the masking tape so I used duct tape. I guess no one remembered to remove it before it was washed and dried…a lot of times.”

So parents, if your child wears school uniforms, add masking tape to the school supply list. It’s easier to remove than duct tape.



“Cousin Memories”

Ice Cream Freezer“Helen, remember the afternoon Uncle Harold took all the cousins swimming in the creek?” my mother asked.

“Yes, and we had homemade ice cream and Aunt Minnie’s peach cobbler afterwards,” my aunt answered.

As a child I often listened as my mother and her sister recounted stories of childhood fun with their many cousins. Those same cousins gathered as adults at reunions and recalled the fun-filled days of their youth.

My own “cousin memories” include one cousin’s unfortunate hit in the nose with a ball bat, dinner rolls tossed at the kids’ table in the kitchen, pretending to be FBI agents, and grandma’s peach pie. Recently, one of my cousins died unexpectedly. He sang at my wedding and at the funerals of both my mother and dad. After my uncle died, it was his job to say grace at our yearly family gathering. I have good memories of him.

This summer my grandchildren spent a week making “cousin memories.” Their memories will include swimming, trips to the park, producing “shows” for the grown-ups, blowing bubbles, playing on their electronic devices, and homemade ice cream and peach cobbler.

Blessed are those of us who have “cousin memories.”


The Olympics

OlympicsClearly, I should have been better prepared. I spent the week looking forward to spending the hot, summer weekend watching the Olympics. The kitchen was stocked with plenty of snacks and beverages, and I had fluffed the cushions of my easy chair. Yet, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know which events to watch.

A quick run up and down the TV guide with the remote resulted in quite a few “Rio” choices. Swimming? Gymnastics? Basketball? Rugby? Tennis? Soccer? Weightlifting? I even devoted a few minutes checking out my favorite blue macaw family from the movie Rio 2. (I’ve always enjoyed watching Blu, Jewel, and their kids adjust to life in the Amazon.) What did I want to watch?

I longed for the days when my children were home and made Olympic decisions for me, or better yet, for the days when my television received only one station that carried the Olympics.

By Sunday night I was as exhausted as Michael Phelps after his relay swim, and my forearm ached from using the remote. While I enjoyed the Olympics, I looked forward to my television viewing returning to normal. Reruns of The Big Bang Theory and Everybody Loves Raymond are not nearly as tiring.

“New Dog”

New DogJohn and I were traveling before we had cell phones and arrived at our hotel to find a message from our daughter. She was caring for our two outdoor dogs while we were away. She had found the smaller one severely injured. This particular dog was number 15 in 17 cats or dogs I have had as pets. At dog number 14, I decided to name our animals “dog” or “cat” in an effort to avoid serious emotional attachment on my part. This injured dog was known as “New Dog.”

In the ten-minute, rambling, detailed telephone message, our daughter explained she had polled her siblings, and they had arrived at the consensus their dad would not want to spend $600 on surgery for a dog that had wandered up from the highway only two weeks earlier. Especially when they weren’t even sure their dad realized “New Dog” was actually a live dog and not a lawn ornament. So…dog number 15 joined my previous 14 pets in animal heaven.

“She could have simply said she changed “New Dog’s” name to “Dead Dog,” John remarked after hearing the message. This–from a man who has no doubt spent thousands on dog food, cat food, and vet bills over the last 46 years….