Category Archives: Siblings

2015 Day 22: Clocks, Markers and Scissors

Have you ever had a child whose body seemed to know what time it was?  It didn’t matter where you were or what you were doing because if you “hit” that special time, all bets were off.  That internal clock had only one acceptable activity that could be done.

My oldest granddaughter had a clock inside her.  It was set for 8:00 PM.   If you were coming home from church and happened to be in the car with her, she  would cry.  She cried really loud with tears.  It was a sight!  If you were traveling up the interstate and the car clock ticked over to 8:00 PM, she began to cry.  Really cry.  She could actually cry for two hours straight.  I am not kidding.  You could give her a snack. She would refuse it.  You could give her a teddy bear.  She would refuse it.  And she never quit crying.  So what was her 8:00 activity? A bath.  A nice warm bath with her favorite tub buddies.  The second her fat little toes hit the water, she was silent and smiley and happy.  Finally….

She also had a thing for markers.  She loved to color on paper.  She loved to color on the wall.  She loved to color the appliances.  Face it-she loved to color anything.  Her Mom finally had to keep the markers locked up!  But Annabanana was pretty sneaky and sometimes she hid a marker or found one that had not been locked up.  So what did she do? Well, she took that permanent purple maker and colored something she had never colored before—–HERSELF! Her face.  Her arms.  Her legs.  She looked like a Smurf! Nothing would take the color off.  It had to W-E-A-R off.  When her parents took her to church, no one even said a single thing about her purple body.  They knew her attraction to markers.

Her other attraction was to scissors.  Even at an early age, she loved to cut hair.  Other people’s hair.  So her brothers and sisters sometimes got an extra haircut-thanks to Annabanana. The most famous haircut was to her younger sister.  With four young children in the family, her parents would get one ready at a time.  That day they were having a family picture made.  Her younger sister was all ready.  Then Annabanana.  Then the boys.  When my son and his wife started gathering everyone up, they kept noticing that the youngest girl-Looloo-looked a little different.  It took a few minutes for them to realize that her bangs were gone.  Not short.  GONE.  Cut to the very scalp.  Well, it didn’t take much guessing to figure out who was the hair cutter!  Annabanana said that Looloo wanted her bangs cut.  Right.  The nice thing is that Looloo didn’t have to worry about her bangs for a long time!

I am happy to say that Annabanana is a sophomore in college now and has given up her 8:00 bath, doesn’t color herself or anyone else with markers, and only allows a professional cut her hair!  Yay!

2015 Day 17: The Wedding Oops

Today, my husband and I were fortunate enough to witness the wedding of our youngest niece.  It was in a gorgeous setting outside. Wooden church pews marched down the slight slope to the altar.  Shade was provided by  ancient pecan trees that surrounded the outdoor church. The sky was the most amazing shade of blue! The grass provided a cushy green carpet for the bridesmaids and the bride to come down.  It was a perfect setting.  It was even more perfect because this couple has their focus on the Lord.

I am sure that something went awry at the wedding.  Things always do.  But generally, the guests have no idea of  the oops. I think that sometimes even the bride or groom have no idea what didn’t go right.  Weddings are happy times so those little oops just fade away.

Our son had a little oops at his wedding that everyone knew about.  A day before the wedding, he was playing racquet ball with the pastor who was going to marry him.  They were both pretty competitive players.  During the heat of play, my son hit the ball too hard and it managed to hit the pastor in the face-in the eye! Yikes.  He was fine except he had the most gorgeous black eye and face.  His actual eye was blood red.  Various shades of green and black were quite evident during the wedding and in all the pictures.  Everyone laughed and wedding and life went on!

My sister had a wedding oops when she married, too.  But I never told her about it.  I was a bridesmaid in one of those dresses that the bride always says—“I picked out something you can wear later. ”  Nope sis.  NO bridesmaid dress can be worn out again in a social setting.  No matter how may times you think it can, that dress looks like a bridesmaid dress.  Sorry!

The color was so nice-kind of an apricot which really really looks nice on me.  It was a dress that looked like it had a lace dress over a solid strapless dress. So you got the TWO dress look but only had to really wear one dress.  I had to have it altered and I was so happy with the fit.  Well, several weeks rocked along and then came the weekend for the wedding.  It was at a large church and the church employed a wedding planner to make sure that the facilities were used correctly and to just keep the ceremony on time.  The little lady probably was a drill sergeant in the Army in her previous life.  I say that because everything had a time and we stuck to it. Period.  End of dawdling and talking and just enjoying the moment.  Well, my sister had all the dresses.  I wanted to run into the ladies room and try mine on again just to make sure everything was fine. OH NO-the sergeant said.  That would take too much time.  SO I decided I would take it home.  OH NO she said.  The dresses had to STAY at the church. No discussion.  Well, I knew better than say anything but “Yes ma’am.”

The next day dawned beautiful and sunny and wonderful.  I arrived at the time the wedding planner said to arrive.  I got dressed.  I looked in the mirror and gasped. The dress was too big in the bust.  I must have lost a little or tightened up what I had playing ball with the church team .  Anyway, it was too big.  In fact, the lace overlay was stitched to the satin underdress and it folded over in my bust area. What was I going to do? We had some duct tape in the car-my hubby brought that to see if we could fix anything with that.  Nope that didn’t work.  No one-including the wedding planner-had needle or thread.  And she was so pushy trying to get me to figure out what to do. She was NO help but she should could tap her foot impatiently! I went into one of the bathroom stalls to wipe away some tears and thought about the toilet paper.  Could I stuff the strapless bra enough that it would hold up the front of the dress?  The answer is yes.  Of course I used THREE whole rolls of toilet paper because it had to be stuffed really full.  The dress fit but I sure looked like I had just had a breast implant. I didn’t do any deep breathing because I was afraid it would fall down.  That would be AWKWARD.

Well, the music started.  The planner shoved me through the door to the church and the wedding went on. It was awesome.  So Sis, you had an oops but everything ended up just fine.  And I had three extra rolls of toilet tissue wads in my car-use in case!

2015 Day 15: Happy Birthday Coffy

Hobart Carter Coffman was my father in law.  He was kind, funny, a hard worker, an awesome cook and loved his grandchildren beyond words.  Heaven is a better place with him there.

When I first met Coffy, he was fishing on the dock at the trailer.  The trailer was the summer home that he and Charlotte, my mother in law, escaped to every year.  It was heavily wooded and cool during the hottest of summer days.  And the lake was a stone’s throw away.  I had never dated anyone who had a home at the lake and I thought it was the best idea in the world.  Who wouldn’t like to live  right beside that huge lake filled with clear water that allowed you to swim ANY TIME you wanted? It was perfect!

While Coffy was fishing on the dock, Charlotte was inside making her “famous” potato salad.  It was the kind of potato salad that someone in the South might call—Slap your Momma potato salad.  I know that sounds awful but it MEANS that it is SO GOOD that NO ONE can describe it! What Charlotte did was teach ME to make it.  To this day, I am asked to bring potato salad to everything.  I never bring home a bowl with anything left. NEVER.

Later Charlotte and Coffy retired and  built a permanent house on the lake and my children LOVED to go spend a week with them.  Shoot. I loved to go spend any time with them. Charlotte knew everything about the family and told the funniest stories.  Coffy was an amazing gardener and cook.   He always sat at the head of the table. My daughter sat at one side and my son at the other.  He would start the dish passing after Grace.  He always dipped out the food for my children.  He would do David first. He would say, “David, would you like some broccoli?”  David would say, “No Granddaddy.”  Coffy would put a spoonful on his plate anyway. You see Coffy grew that broccoli and you always ate everything that he grew whether you liked it or not!  Then he would say, “Shell, would you like some broccoli” and she would reply,”Yes Granddaddy. Just a little.” So he put a little on her plate. It took David a little while to catch on to what to say.  Then Coffy would pick up the next bowl of homegrown veggies and it would start the same way.  It was hilarious to watch.

Shell loved to follow her granddaddy around in his enormous garden.  She would be sitting right beside him doing whatever he was doing.  David on the other hand, would be inside cleaning under the supervision of Charlotte.  He did not like to garden in the sun! Both of them got to go fishing with Coffy.  They loved being able to get in the boat with their Granddaddy and go fishing.

Whenever we left their house, Coffy always sent something home with us.  He had an extra refrigerator in his carport room.  It was really a frig that had once been inside the kitchen. Coffy never got rid of a single thing that still had use in it.  The top of the frig was filled with glass bottles of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.  He recycled the bottles, of course.  He never offered me one. I never saw him even tipsy. Never.  The rest of the frig was filled with veggies that he had not canned or frozen yet.  He would immediately begin filling a grocery bag with veggies to take home.  He was also a fisherman and we brought home the best fillets frozen in washed milk cartons and water.  How I wish I had his hush puppy knowledge!

Because of Coffy, I became a backyard gardener, too.  I learned to make sausage gravy from Coffy.  I learned to cook rabbit because he grew those, too.  I can still see him on his porch with a smile on his face, hugging my children and then me.  He taught me a LOT about being a grandparent. About having a kind voice. About being patient.  And he never even realized that he was doing that.  I miss him still.  But the lessons he taught me—-well they are with me still.  Love you Coffy.

Day 10: What is in a name?

When I was a little girl, there were not as many choices for things to participate in after school or during the summer as children have now. Of course to me, it seemed like I had many choices. Little girls could take ballet or tap, they could go to Girl Scouts or they could learn to play the piano. Sometimes little girls could do two of them but that is about all. There were no soccer teams or softball teams or volleyball teams. Girls were very limited in the sporting area. For example, if a girl played basketball in high school, she could only play half court. Girls did NOT run down the whole court. I know this is hard to imagine now.

I was able to take ballet and tap. I liked tap dancing the best. There was something about those taps on the bottom of your shoes that make you feel special!  I only danced for two years before focusing on other things. I was in Girl Scouts all the way through high school. But I will save that for another time. I want to talk about playing the piano now. I was I kindergarten when my mother started looking for a teacher for me. Not everyone would take a six year old. Many teachers had waiting lists. The woman my mother wanted me to go to was filled but suggested one of her former students who has just come home from college and was going to teach high school and piano  after work in her home. My mom was really tickled and signed me up.

I can remember how nervous and excited I was that first day! My mom came in with me to meet my new teacher. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She had a smile that made me feel welcome and calm. I wanted to be the best student she had ever taught. When I practiced at home that week, I know I drove my family crazy because I even gave up reading time to practice. When I went to my second lesson, I was a little early and I waited in her dining room where I noticed this kind of piano that I had never seen before. She saw me looking at it and told me it was a pump organ that had belonged to her grandmother. She showed me how it worked and let me give it a try. It was a challenge to be able to play and pump the pedals at the same time to produce the sound! I loved it. You also have to touch the keys differently than a piano. I wanted one of my own! Every other week we would spend a little time with the pump organ after my regular piano lesson. Then she surprised me with a piece of sheet music-Ave Maria-which I learned to play on the organ. At my first recital, I played a piece on the piano AND I played a piece on the pump organ.  My teacher never realized that she had started me on a musical journey that would last my whole life. I still play the piano 60 years later.

My teacher’s name was Nancy Ellen J.  In Hebrew, the name Nancy means full of Grace. That certainly described my teacher. Ellen means the shining one.  I adored her name and felt she had made such an impact on my life  that when my parents were expecting a new baby that I talked constantly about how  nice it would be to grace a new baby girl with a beautiful name. When my beautiful red-headed sister was born later that year, they graced her with a beautiful name-Nancy Ellen. And sis-that is where your name came from! A beautiful name for a beautiful woman!




Day 4: A-You’re Adorable B-You’re so Beautiful

I was an only child for almost 10 years. And then my Mother became pregnant. Pregnancy was different in the 60’s. First of all, mothers-to-be were never to look pregnant or have anyone see their protruding belly. It was just in poor taste. Maternity clothes were large and completely covered the belly. Women really didn’t wear pants a lot either. And no one talked about what was really happening inside of you. But that is another story. My parents were so excited about the new baby. In those days, there were no ultrasounds. When the baby came out, you knew what you were having. That was it unless you had a distant aunt that could predict the sex using a needle on a thread that was swung over your belly!

When my sister was born, she was a cutie. She had R.E.D. hair! My parents took a lot of kidding about that. No one had red hair that we knew about in our family. Oops! Then when my Dad’s mother saw the new baby, she laughed and said that she had red hair as a young woman. Mystery solved!

I loved watching my dad rock my younger sister. It was a side that I had never seen. I would sit on their bed and watch him holding her and talking to her. The sweetest part was when he would sing to her at night right before he put her in bed. He told me that he sang to me, too, when I was a baby. I can close my eyes and see the picture of him and hear him singing:

“A-you’re adorable

B-you’re so beautiful

C-you’re a cutie full of charm

D-you’re a darling and

E-you’re so elegant

F-you’re a feather in my arms

G-you look good to me

H-you’re so heavenly”

And the song would continue until he had used the whole alphabet. As he sang, he would stroke her cheek. By the end, my sister would be sound asleep all cuddled in my Dad’s arms. Just thinking about those precious moments, chokes me up. Even today.

When I had children, I sang this song to them, too. Yes, even to my son! And then to my daughter. When my grandchildren came along, I sang this same song to them.

Thank you Daddy! I love you and miss you so!

Dad Army uni