You’ll do fine….

On my last solo car trip of over a thousand miles, I listened to big band, classic country, and what I call western country music. My father enjoyed such music, too, and I thought of him on my trip.

“Turn the wheel. You’re going to hit the barn!” I did–hit the barn–just as Daddy, from his seat on the tractor fender, slammed his booted foot down on top of my eight-year-old barefoot, and smashed it between the metal brake pedal and his boot. “You’ll do fine next time,” he said.

“You can drive us home from Grandma’s. Now, remember, don’t close your eyes on the narrow bridge. You’ll do fine,” he said. I was almost twelve.

“Take this truck load of wheat to town. Just put it in low, ease up on the clutch slowly, and give it some gas. Don’t hit the sides of the elevator or the next truck in line. Don’t roll back into the truck behind you, either. You’ll do fine,” he said. I was sixteen.

At twenty, he had me drive a large, flatbed truck. “You’ll do fine,” he said.

I’d like to once again drive with my dad–I would do fine.


It was a dark and stormy night…well, not really stormy, but it was dark. I was at least an hour from home, yet I remained attentive to my driving and watchful for deer alongside the highway. Still, my mind raced with tasks I wanted to accomplish the following day.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a notepad or pen in the seat beside me to jot down my “todo” list. So, I first focused on the first word of each task, then on the first letter of that word. If I remembered those, I could remember what I needed to accomplish the following day.

After forty or fifty minutes of mentally organizing the tasks in my mind and memorizing the letters of the alphabet representing those tasks, I arrived home. I hurried inside and quickly scribbled the letters on an old newspaper. Exhausted, I fell into bed and a deep sleep.

The next morning, I discovered my note–IWPBJ. What did those letters mean? Finally, I remembered my chores–but not before I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. After all, wouldn’t “I want peanut butter and jelly” be the first thought of anyone upon seeing the letters IWPBJ?


A Habitat

“What are you kids doing?” I called from my cozy spot on the couch to my grandchildren in the backyard.

“We’re working on our habitat project,” they answered in unison.

How wonderful, I thought. These young children had apparently studied about the Habitat for Humanity program at school. Warm thoughts filled my heart as I thought of them working to improve lives. After an hour or two of quietness on the part of the kids, though, I thought I should check on their activities.

“Look, Nana, we’ve made a home for our pet worms,” said one young girl as she handed me a plate of mud.

Hmmm…well, yes, I guess they were building a habitat. However, “making mud pies” as an answer might have caused me to go outside and actually see what they were doing. It might have made doing laundry a little easier the next day, too.

Oh, by the way, earthworms have a very short life span when out of their natural “habitat.”

Sole Footwear

My barefooted childhood days are long gone. Now I might go barefooted around the house, at the pool, or on the beach, but for a normal day involving leaving the house, I wear shoes—two shoes, one on each foot. So, I don’t understand why I see so many sole shoes or boots along the highways I travel.

I do understand a passenger riding with his or her foot out the window. Such behavior is connected to comfort and boredom. If my shoe fell off, though, I would insist upon retrieving it. Apparently not everyone thinks about footwear the way I do.

I have traveled many a highway mile and on many of those miles, there has been a lone flip-flop, sandal, or other type of footwear. Last winter a brown leather shoe rested in the middle of the busiest intersection in my hometown for well over a month. Drivers and even the street sweeper carefully swerved around it.

A lone rubber boot appeared on the highway shoulder by my house last month. It’s still there. Should I rescue it? I wonder if those lost items of footwear somehow match up with the socks gone missing in washing machines?  Oh, for answers….

Three Dips, Please

John and I began a journey to Corpus Christie, Texas on August 17 and returned home August 23. We visited relatives and friends (who are safe) on our trip. We avoided most Interstates and drove through many small towns–their names we have now heard on the national news. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Texas. I wrote the below piece before the flood.


“I’ve decided to set as a goal eating ice cream in every state,” my grandchild said.

“What a great idea!!!” I said.

Why did I not think of that many, many years ago? While I’m hopeful I have many more travels in my future, I have surely missed some geographical opportunities to eat ice cream.

But thinking back, I remembered eating butter brickle ice cream in Chicago at the Navy Pier and lemon ice cream on a lawn in Kennebunkport, Maine. I remembered cookie dough ice cream in Estes Park, Colorado and cookies and cream ice cream in Sarasota, Florida.  I recently had a chocolate and vanilla “twist” cone in Corpus Christie, Texas. There was that chocolate chip ice cream at my son’s home in Iowa and strawberry ice cream at my daughter’s home in Missouri.  Oh yes, there was butter pecan ice cream on that long ago trip to New York and peppermint ice cream in Washington, D.C.  And, that long, long ago senior trip involved numerous flavored ice creams in numerous states.

Then I remembered the number on the bathroom scale. So, it seems the evidence suggested I didn’t miss any ice cream opportunities….


Saddle Up!

Dressing is an issue for me. It is difficult to get it all together. Do my shoes match? Is my blouse on wrong side out? Somehow it all begins with laundry and I hold my washer and dryer responsible for some of my dressing mishaps. I would not have done this latest one on my own.

It happened on our family vacation to Colorado. Grandpa arranged horseback riding for everyone. The ride involved an hour or two on a trail riding up and back down a mountain–not your usual really, really, old horse walking in a circle ride. All were excited, well except Grandpa and the mothers with the youngest grandchildren. (They spent their time at a playground by a lake.)

There was no hesitation on my part about the adventure. I rode horses as a child and was confident I would have no problems. I was confident, too, my horse would be somewhat trained. He was, and I enjoyed the ride.

In fact, it was great to be back in the saddle again. I just wish the young, good-looking, wrangler who assisted me up on my horse had not seen the underwear clinging to my fresh-from-the-laundry jeans.

Make Time for Coffee

I finished my morning work-out at the gym, hurried to the locker room, and quickly changed. There was just enough time for a quick cup of coffee before I left for my part-time job. Coffee with my gym friends provided my incentive to actually go to the gym.

It’s hot here in Kansas during the summer and I changed into a full, circular skirt, made of some type of flimsy, light-weight material, and a blouse. I hurriedly gathered my belongings and moved out to the gathering area of the gym.

I poured my coffee and sat down at the table while my friends completed their work-outs. Brrrrr,  I had not realized my skirt was so thin and flimsy. Yet, that metal folding chair seemed cold–very, very cold. I investigated and sure enough, I was somehow the victim of that old “hiked-up-skirt-in-the-waistband” scenario.

Oh yes, there is something to be said about being the first one to the table.


I vaguely remember eating at an IHOP in 1965 and again sometime in the mid-eighties. It was certainly so long ago, I couldn’t say for sure if I did or did not. Yet, I know I ate strawberry pancakes somewhere as a college student and later as a young mother.

Often over the years, I have had fond thoughts of those strawberry pancakes. In fact, several years ago I added eating at IHOP to my bucket list. (Unfortunately, my town does not have an IHOP and while my family often travels to larger cities, others in my family do not share my appreciation of pancakes.)

Recently, a group of us were on an out-of-town trip to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Even though it wasn’t my birthday, I somehow got to pick where to have lunch. With glee I chose IHOP! I  It was great. I had not only strawberries, but blueberries, and bananas on my pancakes!

Somethings on the bucket list are worth repeating and the very next day I was again out of town. “Oh yes, I’ll have a short stack please–with strawberries, blueberries, and bananas.”

Tasty Toast

It was a rare, semi-cool, cloudy afternoon in the middle of a hot, Kansas summer. In my air-conditioned home, though, using my imagination, it felt like a cold, snowy afternoon. Without using my imagination, I felt hungry and it seemed a perfect time for cinnamon toast.

I placed the two slices of 45 calorie apiece bread in the toaster while I assembled the butter, cinnamon, and sugar canister. In my hunger I planned to spread a generous spoonful of sugar over the butter and finally lightly sprinkle with cinnamon.

Up popped the toasted bread and I quickly finished preparing the cinnamon toast and settled myself at the kitchen counter–ready to devote my full attention to the Andy Griffith show. Andy and Barney were having quite the time capturing three escaped women prisoners–there is no end to the number of blunders Barney makes.

Apparently there is no end to the number of blunders I can make either but I now know I should not confuse the salt canister with the sugar canister.

The Winner!

“Who do you think the starting pitcher will be?”

“I hope someone makes a home run.”

“Are our seats in the shaded area of the stadium?”

“I hope there’s a foul ball. I’ve got my glove.”

“Did you see the end of last night’s game?”

“I just wish they wouldn’t wait until the last inning to pull the game out.”

“Did you see the slide at home?”

“What were they thinking? Putting in that relief pitcher….”

Yes, there was a lot of anticipation and speculation by my family members during our three-hour car trip to the ball park. I, too, was excited and anxious.

“Should I have a New York style or Chicago style hot dog?”

“Or, maybe I should just have a plain hot dog without any relish, ketchup, or mustard.”

“Should I pick relish, ketchup, or mustard, to win their race?”

“Just how hot will it be?”

“I hope no one spills beer on me.”

“I wonder who the other team is….”

Oh yes, nothing like a family trip to the ball park.