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MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN COWBOYS..

Ever wonder what kind of an impression you left on folks today? Think about it.

How can I tell you my story without letting you know the main character? Would that be the sheriff, the little girl, or my grandson?

When he was seventeen, our grandson entertained an interest in bull riding.

Yes, I said bull riding. We had taken him with us to several rodeos when he was very young.

It soon became apparent that his main interest was the activity in the bull pens. There was always a place to stand behind the spot where the contestants began their ride.

Always visible to us from our place in the grandstands, there was no need to wonder if he was okay. Closely watching the riders, his attention was riveted on their every move.

We shouldn’t have been surprised at this fairly unusual pursuit of the sport of bull-riding. Beginning in junior high school, his interest was maintained in many sports including wrestling, weight lifting and football, well known teen sports throughout high-school years.

Nothing could keep him from attempting to become successful at the projects he decided to pursue. With personal determination and a plan for accomplishing the goals he set for himself, dedication brought results.

Although we planned to be at every bull riding event in which he participated, there was one in the northern part of our state we were unable to attend.

A surprise communication arrived…

Sometime after the event, a letter arrived for him from the sheriff in a northern Michigan community. The sheriff was asking our grandson to consider sending him an autographed picture.

In explanation, he wrote that he was working with an eleven year old girl who was having difficulty, as he explained it, in finding a good path to follow in her life.

The sheriff went on to write that during his counseling he had asked the girl if she had any heroes. She said yes, and then indicated our grandson who she had seen riding in the rodeo in the northern part of our state,

was her hero.

Think about it. She must have indicated our grandson by name or there would have been no way for the sheriff to make this personal contact.

Bull riding events are well attended and the grandstands are usually filled to capacity. There was no personal contact between the girl

and our grandson.

This scenario amazed me.

Being the grandmother I am, I didn’t miss an opportunity to offer a lecture on good behavior. “What do you suppose you were doing when she saw you?”, I asked. “You had no idea you were being watched other than when you were actually riding. Were you chatting with other riders, were you watching the activities?”

My observations…

At bull riding events, the young riders I’ve noticed, are neatly dressed. Our grandson always pressed his shirts with a crease in the sleeves.

(Only a Grandmother notices things like that, or so I thought.)

He didn’t smoke, or drink or chew. Any of those things could have been noticed by someone observing him at an event.

This time, a confused young girl was watching our grandson and later counting him as her hero.

He found a photo of himself, as the sheriff had asked, and penned a message on the back. In the message indicating that he hoped she would find good paths for her life in the future.

Since this incident happened, and it was a long time ago, I’ve had many opportunities to think about people who may be watching you and me right now.

What are they seeing? What are they hearing?

It would be unusual to be aware that someone is observing our actions.

We may never know when it’s happening. Are they noticing the way we’re dressed? Can they hear what we are saying? Have we influenced someone’s life? Did we make them wish they could be like us? Or, did they wish they would never be like us? Were we an influence for good? Do we present a pleasant space around ourselves?

Perhaps, in an off moment, we may convince someone never to act as we do. It’s quite possible something we’ve done, or said, or the way we have planned our lives, has influenced someone to change direction, or maybe to continue in a direction they’ve already chosen.

Someone is watching and listening to you and me right now. We will never know who it is or how our lives may have influenced them

to direct their own life.

I’ve shared this story with many people over the past years. The incident has made a difference in how I see myself, Sometimes I hope no one is looking or hearing; other times I hope I made a good impression.

Who’s watching now?

Good luck, son..

https://thatremindsme.blog/

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Photos By Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

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AND THAT HAS MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE…

Ahead  were only dreary, boring days and years of waiting to get “old.”  There was nothing new to do nor places to see or ROADS to travel.

“When you come to a fork in the ROAD,

take it.”

(Yogi Berra had the right idea.)

I love to  reminisce and write about bygone times, remembering the people I’ve known, especially those who have made a difference in the ” me” I’ve become at the age of 84. I once thought 84 was really, really old.

It isn’t.

Actually, I once believed that 50 was old. As I recall, 50 was old when my grandmothers were alive.

I was devastated when I turned thirty. Life was over, no longer “twenty-something”. Looking forward, there was nothing left to life.

Ahead  were only dreary, boring days and years of waiting to get “old.”  There was nothing new to do nor places to see or “roads” to travel.

There were no college years for me.

When required to check off my level of education on an application, the box to check must be “graduated high-school”.

 Dad sometimes commented, ” Some folks attend college and still don’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain.”

I feel good about his comment because my high school education helps me to remember to carry my umbrella on a cloudy day.

That reminds me, a week or so ago I purchased a new umbrella. It was very easy to raise, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to lower it when  inside the building.

You’ll be happy to know, with a great deal of concentration, I finally figured out how to  return my umbrella to its original closed position.  Pushing the little “down” arrow located right underneath the “up” arrow accomplished it for me.

Who says a high school education isn’t worth much?

I grew up in a small northern town in the lower peninsula of Michigan. My family moved to another town, thirty miles away, when I was seventeen.

When we are living them, the years seem long.

One could hardly think of me as a world traveler, but I’ve learned much about life from the shores of Michigan’s largest inland lake; Houghton Lake.

Married sixty-two years, my husband and I raised three sons. It’s difficult to imagine someone as young as I, having sons who are now in their fifties and sixties. Facts are not always as they seem.

Life is like a dream.

I heard someone make a statement just the other day about “alternative” facts.(Perhaps I should research some of those when describing my attributes.)

copyright©2018

Photography By Mary Anne Tuck

* *

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one to where it bent in the undergrowth.

And took the other as just as fair

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that, the passing there

Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day,

Yet knowing how way leads unto way,

I doubted that I would ever be back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood,

And I, I took the road less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

robert frost mailbox

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

We traveled to New Hampshire many years ago and found this old mail box. It resides on the narrow  gravel road in front of one of the summer homes of Robert Frost. It’s a lovely place. This writing of his has always been my favorite. I carry a copy of it with me at all times. I read it over and over.

It speaks to me.

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

Lost In Toyland

IMG_0039Days of Fun in Sand and Snow

With Cherished childhood toys.

Imaginary roads brought joy

and hours of play 

 for little girls and boys.

Wrapped and Found beneath a tree, disguised

 as christmas presents,

Giant projects filled their thoughts,

and play became more pleasant.

Now, safely resting on a shelf

in colorful display,

Grown construction engineers

Enjoy them still,

today.

God bless the folks who built the roads

to help

our highways last.

  Who’s to say those yellow trucks are now

 things of the past?

Sons and daughters, grand-kids too,

Can see the love that shows

When grandpa shares his Tonka toys with thoughts

 of long ago.

Memories Are Made From This…

Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

[email protected]

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE…

  Rules of the Game 

Making Conversation

1963

(Published in the Houghton Lake Resorter, Houghton Lake, Michigan, weekly newspaper)

Even the rules change in 56 years. and as a result, conversations change even more. It was my privilege to have a weekly column in our local newspaper, continuing for almost three years. I’ve added a little here and there. But you’ll get the idea.

MUSINGS OF A HOMEMAKER by Mary Anne Tuck 

My Byline

Is it really the weather that makes us disagreeable, or

 are we just naturally hard to please?

Seems like just a few short weeks ago, we could be found pining for summer days.

Then summer days arrived and we began to long for the cooler, fall weather.

 Our nature is to search for lost opportunities and unfulfilled dreams.

 At the age of ten, we wished for things we didn’t possess. Such as, maybe it would be nice

if my name could be Susie…

instead of Mary.

 How wonderful it must be to have beautiful red hair…

instead of brown.

 Then we reach high school.  Sometimes, during our high school years, we yearn for a steady date and find to our amazement that the steady daters have visions of playing the field and

dating around.

 If our choice is not to attend college, we may soon be found nurturing envious thoughts of those who went on 

to higher education.  

Sometimes, the bride who marries young wishes she had waited a bit for that magic moment.  She’s surprised to learn that the woman who works outside the home may feel she has wasted precious years when she could have been staying home, and

 raising a family.  

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We may be overflowing with discontent during the transition from childhood to adulthood.

 Keeping up with the Jones family is a desirable way of life for many, and the wish to have as much or more as the folks next door may never go away.

 When your neighbor belabors the fact that the days are much too long and the weather is much too hot, perhaps your neighbor is following

the rules of the game.

 The game is called

“Making Conversation”.

 The objective is to see how much better we can make our everyday living with

good-natured complaining along with

a few constructive thoughts.  

What can we do to make our lives more blessed than they are already?

 Maybe we should change “The Rules Of The Game”,

 Let’s talk about it!

2018

I’m seeing myself in the words once written by me at the age of twenty-eight..  Those were the years when I had three little boys

ages one, four, and six;

no more working in an office, and dressing up each day,

going to work and meeting new people.

Maybe I just wanted to be different; different from what? I’m not quite sure. 

  Possibly I thought I’d missed  out on the opportunities that had once been before me,

now they had seemingly disappeared.  

Married at twenty with my first child at twenty-one,

  I’d now  become a full fledged Mom of three, and

a homemaker, at the age of twenty-seven.

Establishing a home and family may sometimes begin at a later time in life,  but

there  was never a career pursuit

for me.

From the age of twenty  I was faced with

meals and dishes, laundry, and house cleaning.

 The house we lived in, although we loved it dearly,

was much less sophisticated than the homes

of our friends and neighbors. Of course

   I knew the future was out there,

somewhere.

 At the time, though, I couldn’t see it.

What is it the jokesters say?

“Just another day in Paradise” 

My Christian walk had not yet begun….or

 maybe it had and I just hadn’t recognized it.

 Time would tell.

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copyright©2018

Photographs by Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

FIRST AMENDMENT..Followed by second, third..You know the routine…

The following article, by me, was printed in the Houghton Lake Resorter weekly newspaper in Houghton Lake, Michigan..The “byline” as shown above was chosen for me by the editor of the paper, Bob Hamp. I must admit, I didn’t know what a “byline” was at that time. (But now, I do.)

In case you may have kept a copy of this article, I have edited a few things which I deemed to look better before presenting it for your perusal at this time. After all, it has been 55 years since it was written and I tend to look at things differently now. (I know you’ll understand.)

…..continuing the article

***

How many “therefores” can you handle at one time?

To sum it up, each of us is guilty of harboring “I know better” feelings which emerge annually on the “first” day of January of any given year.

Never feel guilty about those memories being immediately forgotten on the “second” day of January; the same year.

For instance, “I know better” than to let the ironing pile up week after week while stashing the clothes I like to iron least in a lonely basket behind the door.

You’ll realize the problem when the unfavored basket overwhelms the operation of the door, the guilt becomes evident.

Therefore” I resolve to keep my ironing up to date; including the items I don’t prefer to deal with..

“I know better” than to chide my friends in far off places for not being regular in their correspondence with me. To be honest, I am equally as irregular with mine.

“Therefore“, I resolve to keep all my correspondence up to date.

“I know better” than to continue driving our car without refilling the gas tank. Come to think of it, my husband has often mentioned he doesn’t care to run out of gas on his way to work in the morning. (He doesn’t say it quite that way, but you get the picture.)

“Therefore” I resolve to keep the gas tank filled at all times.

I know better” than to let my bank statements pile up in a drawer until my checkbook balance requires a notice of service charge from the bank for overdrawing my account.

“Therefore” I resolve to balance my bank statements promptly upon their arrival.

You’ll feel better when you have successfully written down your “therefore” list, you may feel properly girded for the onslaught of uncharted days and months ahead in 1965.

Rules help to protect your reputation.

Let me give you a word of warning.

Mention to no one that your list exists. Here is my advice.

Immediately upon completion, place it in an envelope, seal it, and promptly convert it to ashes and smoke.

Your ironing will continue to accumulate, your correspondence friends will think of you warmly at Christmas time, your husband will get good exercise, the bank will feel you accept and respect their bookkeeping procedures and your conscience will be free to glide into 1965 in friendly and familiar surroundings.

2019 AND CONTINUING….

They say “confession” is good for the soul.

It’s been a long time since I’ve made a New Year’s resolution.

Please don’t think ill of me. I learned years ago that such an endeavor was a complete waste of my time.

Thank heaven for permanent press clothing

that needs no ironing.

May God bless my Grandma!

I remember the days when my grandma took my clothes needing ironing and sprinkled them with water. Then she rolled them up, put them in the freezer, told me they were there and that I could iron them later. (That was a mistake.)

I did, however, learn something that may be of use to you. If sprinkled clothes are stored in the freezer for two weeks or more, they will be surprisingly damp when you thaw them. If the time is more than a week or two your clothes may have to be sprinkled again. (Grandma never approved of that outcome and I’m not recommending it to you.)

The computer is your friend.

Thank heaven, (and time), for the invention of the computer and emails.

With my computer’s help, I am now able to respond within minutes to correspondence from my friends. Why didn’t someone think of this before?

Complaints Complaints Complaints!

I try to fill the gas tank as soon as I see the little space that emerges after “full”. The price of gas has reached an unthinkable $2.38 per gallon. So if you fill the tank before you use much, it’s cheaper. (Does that sound right to you?)

Although I’ve asked the bank to send me printed statements at the end of the month, I also have my bank records on the computer.

Read this if you’ve passed up the rest.

This is the most important part. I leave the mailed statements unopened in a drawer.

There is always the possibility of being without electricity for the computer, which would restrain me from checking my balance. In such an event, the unopened and printed statements in the drawer would be a blessing.

I DO NOT RECOMMEND NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!

If you still feel the need to put resolutions in writing, this is my advice. Use a sealed, unmarked envelope.

As a last resort..

Destroy it as quickly as possible on New Year’s day.

FIRE IS STILL THE MOST RELIABLE SOLUTION!

Cooking hotdogs over the fire…mmm..sounds good on a cold day…good place to get rid of the envelope.

If fire is not your thing, the sealed envelope may also be thrown in the garbage. But, hear this!

There is always the possibility that someone could find it at the dump.

GIVE THIS SOME SERIOUS THOUGHT!

(It’s already nearing the end of the year…May 2020 be your best year ever!))

From Rudolph to Silver Bells..Time Tells The Story..

Times have changed..the sweet smell of pine can always be purchased in a spray can from the store.

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The Houghton Lake Resorter 

A weekly newspaper in Houghton Lake, Michigan

MUSINGS OF A HOMEMAKER..Written by me at the age of 28..

The Christmas tree stands in the corner, colorful and lonely. Gaily wrapped gifts no longer gather beneath its branches.  The sweet smell of pine no longer remains in the air.

Sadly, shiny bicycles and curly haired dolls have disappeared from view.

The annual celebration of the birth of Christ

has filled our expectations.

Now, glittering and once lovely wrappings lie crushed in empty cartons awaiting their disposal.

Waiting under the tree lies a ribbon of red, reminding us of our passion for loving. Nearby, lie wrinkled bows;  blue for the richness of living, gold for the bright rays of learning. For us, the still colorful green bows bring the promise of new life in the coming year.

Now, mixed emotions wrap our package of memories; sadness and laughter, hope and regret, faith and tenderness. Bringing to mind colorful memories of the quickly fleeting twelve months.

 1963 has flown away as swiftly as hummingbird’s wings, while never pausing for more than a fleeting moment to enjoy the sweet nectar provided by the flowers of life.

The approaching year offers twelve new months to store more gifts.

 Once again, at the end of this new year, we will have a treasure of memories both happy and sad.

We’re starting anew.

The final design will be original, personal and full of colorful hues, shading the months ahead with a rainbow of memories.

Gracious living to you and yours in the new year of 1964.

And now…at the age of 84..

(How times have changed.)

If needed, the sweet smell of pine can always be purchased in a spray can from the store.

Our artificial tree is stored in a box to be retrieved from the storage room each December.

No pine needles are on the floor waiting to be vacuumed. And no shiny trucks hiding in the corner.

There are no snowy excursions to the nearby woods to look for the perfect tree which must be evenly proportioned on at least  three sides.

We now delight in flannel shirts and an occasional bottle of after-shave. Perhaps there will be a sweater for me and a current book I’ve been thinking about.

The family is here and that’s the best part of all.

In a few moments the gifts are unwrapped and the shirts are checked to make sure they will fit the intended one.

Paper and bow must be carefully folded and used again next year.

The grandchildren are now in their thirties but determined to spend Christmas morning at the farm.

Hidden Meadows Farm in Winter

Looking forward to Christmas morning, our tradition is to have breakfast together, open gifts and visit. It’s a time for recalling all the memories of years gone by.

Christmas Morning at
Hidden Meadows Farm

We now have our sons and  two daughters-in-law, a granddaughter -in-law and a  grandson-in-law, bringing us three beautiful great granddaughters.  

It’s a happy time.

Years ago, we gave our 6-year-old granddaughter a goat for Christmas. We all recall her expression when she found “Peppy” in a special pen in the barn with a big red bow tied around his neck. It always brings a sweet memory and laughter at the breakfast table each year.

The years bring new beginnings.

Our memories become more precious as each year passes. The future is shorter and the time went by too quickly.

 One year can bring many changes.

My husband, Don and our son Tim, have passed on to another life.  I’m blessed with our three great-granddaughters to love and enjoy in the coming years.

A small artificial Christmas tree stands proudly before the east window.

 Sixty years have passed in this wonderful old farm home where memories are enjoyed every day.

Memories Are Made From This

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Photographs By Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

FOX IN THE HENHOUSE

I rested my elbows on the windowsill and videoed away..so to speak.

Not exactly in the henhouse..

I can’t tell you how upset I am with myself.

It’s been at least three years since I’ve seen a fox in the neighborhood. This morning at quarter to 7 I looked out the “next to my computer” window and there he was. It was only starting to get daylight and there was always the possibility the photo wouldn’t finish well. But, I took it anyway. In fact, I took several shots and the one above is the only one that worked.

That’s not the end of the world”, I said to myself.

Just then large flocks of Canadian geese began to fly over the far hay field in preparation to land and feed. They were making a great deal of noise, as only the large flocks of geese may do, and I immediately set my camera to video. By this time, the sky had become light and the view from my camera lense was perfect. I rested my elbows on the windowsill and videoed away..so to speak. What an exciting opportunity for me. The flocks circled the fields three times, honking and calling all the way. One portion of their flight passed very close to my home.

Eventually, I decided to work with my pictures and see what I had accomplished. There were pictures taken yesterday and I saved the ones that were good. There weren’t many. The photo above, of the fox, was the best I had on the camera.

The videos require me to send them to a different place on my computer, so I decided to delete the still pics and the videos to work with later.

After marking each photo for deletion I arrived at the place where it says, “delete all?”, and I said “yes”.

And I did…delete all..that is.

My camera is empty. I wanted so much to share with all of you the wonderful videos I had made of the geese, sound and all.

They’ve been deleted.

Maybe they’ll fly by another day. Maybe they won’t. But take my word for it, those videos were really something else.

Now they’re “somewhere else”.

End of story.

Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

[email protected]

MEMORY FIXER UPPER

Persistence pays..

Think about it!

No comment…

Listening closely to commercials, occasionally gives me food for thought, but not often.

I need to hear one many times before the substance finally clicks, if there actually is any “substance”.

Today, this commercial got my undivided attention.

Apparently, a certain pill “can” help to make old folks, like me,

remember things better.

It is highly recommended by “pharmacists”. Did you get that?

PHARMACISTS.

Of course it is!

No comment was given by the medical society nor by those who may have used it and remembered where they left their glasses.

Nothing was mentioned about old friends who suddenly remembered the name of their kindergarten teacher in 1940 after taking the medicine.

My former neighbor, who recommended it to me, couldn’t remember the name on the bottle she kept in her cupboard…

( Actually, she couldn’t remember which cupboard she kept it in either.)

I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from taking this remarkable antidote (or is it an anecdote?) regarding loss of memory brought on by the aging process.

Now, what was I saying?

No comment!

Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

[email protected]

ANGELS CAME IN A SONG

It was the perfect message in a time of sadness.

The gymnasium was filled to capacity when we arrived. Two large blocks of chairs, with an aisle between, faced the lonely casket.

Friends and family were quiet. It seemed best, for us, to sit in the bleachers.

Row upon row of floral arrangements had been placed on tiered shelving, occupying an area the length of the gym. Local florists had been asked to stop delivering orders since there was no more space for display.

Many were already seated..

Moments before the appointed hour of the service, a group of young men began to arrive. Neatly groomed in white shirts and jeans, carrying their hats, the young rodeo men quietly took their seats near the back of the congregation.

He was so young..

His name and date of birth were printed on the program. Nineteen short years on earth and today we were mourning his passing.

Riding chaps lay draped over the casket. A large painting of the deceased was placed at the side.

Travis was a rodeo man.

He traveled the circuit..

On his way to Alabama to compete in his specialties of Team Roping and Saddle Bronc riding, he was tragically killed while driving through the state of Kentucky.

Tired and excited about the next event, he asked his friend to drive while he rested his head against the back of the seat. As he slept they came upon an 18-wheeler parked on the side of the road. Too late to react, their truck veered off the road and lodged underneath the semi.

The friend survived the crash. Travis did not.

There were many reasons for sadness..

I am usually in control of my emotions at funerals. My husband and grandson were attending this sad occasion with me. Our grandson was, at that time, a bull rider in the rodeo circuit. Knowing the potential for injury and death, our love and concern for him and for these young men was strong.

For them, the excitement and the challenge outweigh the potential danger.

I was determined to control my emotions.

Near the end of the service, the Dad and Mom of the young man quietly approached the casket. A song I’d never heard before, was played through the sound system.

It was the perfect message in a time of sadness.

There are angels among us. I hope you take the time to listen to this song.

Angels Among Us by Alabama

[email protected]

Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

JUST CALL IT HORSE SENSE

It has always seemed unusual to me that a horse named Mable will win a race in which a horse named Star Of Glory will come in six lengths behind.

AMERICAN LITERATURE ASSIGNMENT….1952

Mary Anne Whitchurch….10th Grade High School…

West Branch, Michigan

I am intrigued by the names of race horses.

My observation has been, the most beautiful names are given to the plain horses while the most beautiful horses get the stupid names.

For instance, you will notice such beautiful names as Show Boy, Black Beauty, Silver Star, Arabian Knight and Princess Ann are attached to the old plug who can pick up only three of its feet.

Then, of course, there is Beetlebaum.

On the other hand, a really beautiful and fast race horse, who leaves all the others in the dust, is named Blackie, Dutch, King, or Major.

Then, of course, there is Beetlebaum.

It has always seemed unusual to me that a horse named Mable will win a race in which a horse named Star Of Glory will come in six lengths behind.

Meet Chris…Full name..Christian..A beautiful horse

I don’t know how Beetlebaum entered this little story although it seems to be a good name. I wish he would leave the same way he came in.

***

To continue…………It is now 2019…I’m surprised (at the age of 84) how many people don’t remember Beetlebaum. However, as times change and so do we, I can now share “him” with you. Spike Jones will tell you the story.

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THE WRONG CHOICE HAS A PRICE

HE WENT TO THE SYNAGOGUE, AS WAS HIS CUSTOM….

As a young girl, I was asked to baby sit for my infant nephew while my sister and her husband went out for the evening.

Since the child had a slight cold, my sister’s instructions were to give him a spoon full of cough medicine from a bottle she had placed on the kitchen counter.

When it was time to give him the medicine, I picked up the bottle, poured the liquid into a spoon and offered it to the baby; not bothering to turn on the light. The baby coughed and cried. He choked and spit out most of the medicine on his pajamas. I didn’t feel it was an unusual response to bad tasting medicine.

Turning on the kitchen light to assess the situation, I saw another bottle sitting on the counter.

Quickly reading the label on the bottle I had used, it became clear the liquid I had given the baby was Tincture of Benzine Compound, a substance used in vaporizers for the easing of breathing problems. The cough medicine, which I had been instructed to give, was in a second bottle on the counter, which was not noticeable to me in the darkened kitchen.

I was devastated that this baby I loved so much could have been poisoned by my irresponsible action. (He was fine and suffered no ill effects from my carelessness.) (see note at bottom of article)

Because of that experience, I’ve adopted a discipline that has served me (and others) throughout my life.

Never administer, nor take, medication without first checking the bottle’s ingredients and directions, in the light.

This practiced custom has served me well.

I’ve been thinking. When the habit of attending church becomes customary to us, we are ready to live, worship and praise.

We are enabled to love and be loved, and to listen and share His word within the congregation of Christ on Sunday mornings.

… not burdened with a weekly decision.

This custom serves us well.

When we make a decision to be in a study group with other Christians, on Sunday morning or another time during the week, we place ourselves in a position to grow.

The opportunity to incorporate the meaning of His Word into

our lives may become our custom.

Jesus gave us the example by His own life. “He went to the synagogue, as was His custom”….

Are your customs serving you well?

Are your customs serving Him well?

The answers may save your life.

Lord, teach us your ways. Shine your light on us. Help us to develop customs that will allow us to be used by you in your ministries..Amen

(Note: My “infant” nephew is now 67 years of age..enjoying retirement and a happy life.)

TIMES CHANGE..MEMORIES REMAIN

Back to the days of raising a family. We were enjoying summers at home. This article was written for the Houghton Lake Resorter, the weekly newspaper in my home town. The time was the early sixties. My boys were 13, 11, and 7. Dad was working at his Ace Hardware seven days a week. I was a stay at home Mom. The editor’s instructions were: “Write about any subject you choose”. Readers were invited to send recipes which were printed at the end of my column.

This was my byline placed at the head of every article

LET’S EAT OUTDOORS TONIGHT!

Here we are in the midst of the “let’s eat outdoors” season, and it’s a hearty and appetizing family time

for all ages.

Just mention grilled steaks and you’ll find Dad with eyes aglow and seasoning in hand

preparing to take over at least this one chore from Mom.

For him, the grill must be at a precise measure above the coals.

The steak must be of proper quality and thickness.

No one is allowed to infringe on Dad’s outdoor culinary domain. The man who enjoys this natural cooking is quite adept at presenting a pleasing and palatable taste treat for family and friends.

Cooking outside is relaxing, a fanciful comparison to his usual workday routine.

The approach is precise and scientific. Dad’s in command.

Let’s not overlook the fact that Mom also enjoys Dad’s taking over

in the grilling department.

The kids are wild about grassy carpets that lap up spilled milk. There’s a noticeable lack of such parental reminders as “don’t slouch” and “don’t talk so much” and “for heaven’s sake haven’t you eaten enough?”

Outdoor eating is fun time and the entire family welcomes the change of routine along with the cooling breezes after a warm day engaged in summertime tasks.

June, July and August are the months when hot dogs, hamburgers and potato salad become household words. Fried chicken, ham and iced tea are old standbys that we’ve come to love and enjoy.

Today’s family shares memories of the days when the picnic table beckoned, and everyone awaited the enjoyment of the outdoor eating season

* * *

2016

81″ Is Really Younger Than It Sounds..(That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

The” Twentieth” something also sounds wonderful, although not nearly as poetic as the calendar would like us to think.

The grill now resides in a lonely spot on the deck.

Dad still does the grilling, then brings the meat into the kitchen. Hamburgers and pork chops will be eaten at the two table settings which Mom has prepared.

There we find two plates, two glasses of something, forks, knives, spoons and two slices of bread. (You get the picture.)

The call to dine finds the two of us already at the table.

There are no reminders about slouching

or talking too much.

Slouching is permitted.

There’s not much to talk about. The chops have been joined with potato salad, Dad’s baked beans and Mom’s cookies.

Iced tea remains a necessity.

The picnic table broke a leg.

It had to be sent to a table retirement home.

Let’s eat indoors tonight.

* * *

2019

Here I am and times have changed once again.

Now it’s easier for me to go to a nearby restaurant alone and order a salad or a hamburger and a cup of coffee.

My husband and one of our sons have passed to their next life.

My oldest son lives “downstate” and the youngest remains in our hometown. Grand-kids have homes and children of their own along with busy lives.

And life begins again

with three great-granddaughters and another on the way.

That really is life and it’s still wonderful.

There are many plans for the future

with no limitations of time.

(As far as we know.)

Memories are good!

[email protected] Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

Photographs by Mary Anne