The view was recalling a MEMORY.
It was taking me back
to a time in my life
of great happiness and joy.
“Memories exploded as I stood in the doorway”
* * *
Our congregation was considering the possibility of constructing a new church building.
The one we were in at The Heights in Houghton Lake was old and too small for the growing congregation.
The basement often flooded in the spring of the year.
Sunday School class attendance was increasing.
Although the choir was small, it was increasing in numbers.
The neighboring town of West Branch had recently built a beautiful new church.
A committee in our church, seeking ideas, was formed.
“Let’s go to West Branch and check out their new building.“
Of course I wanted to be on that committee.
The new church was in my former home town. Any excuse to re-visit the memories of my youth, was a great idea.
I was thirty-three at the time.
The new United Methodist Church in West Branch was built on the County Farm property across the street from the house where I’d lived until I was seventeen. If you’ve read in my blog post “Some Folks Called It The Poor Farm..” you have some idea of my emotional attachment to the County Farm. I have many memories of the wonderful lady who was my friend.
As the committee entered the new church building, we were shown the kitchen area and the classrooms.
We visited the sanctuary and the dining area.
As others wandered the hallways I decided to take a little side trip down a different hallway.
At the end of the hall, there was an exit door.
Standing quietly, staring out the door,
I realized long forgotten memories were suddenly returning.
I’d stood in that very place
over the years of my youth.
It appeared to me, this doorway was exactly where the doorway to Mrs. Kelly’s kitchen had been. This was a view I’d seen many times before. (“Was that the aroma of homemade bread?)
Still today, when I’m in town,
I drive into the parking area and sit for a few minutes.
The location of this West Branch United Methodist Church
gives memories of pleasant days of
There was and is, an oil well pump on the East side of the parking lot. The old barn bridge is often visible,
depending on the time of year,
and how many leaves are remaining on the trees.
The barn is gone.
In my memory,
the chicken coop is there.
The pasture where the sheep were kept,
exists in my memory also.
I remember Mr. Kelly driving his team past our house on his way to the hay fields.
Next door, at the North end of the parking area, is the West Branch Township Hall.
It hasn’t aged.
On the day of our committee’s visit, long ago,
I could feel emotions rising in my throat,
I was glad I was standing at the door alone.
I couldn’t have spoken to anyone right then.
The view was recalling a memory.
It was taking me back to a time in my life of great happiness and joy.
As we were returning to our home town, I casually mentioned to my fellow travelers
at the doorway in the church.
No one seemed overwhelmed by my revelations.
Should they have been?
A few days later, traveling to a meeting with my Dad for which I served
as secretary and he as a board member,
I shared my experience of recalling the treasured memory
of the County Farm
Once again, it was difficult for me to speak.
Regaining my composure, I shared with my Dad my emotional visit to the United Methodist church in West Branch.
He listened attentively.
Then he began to share his thoughts with me.
“Most people encounter experiences such as you had, as they grow older and their lives have changed,” he said. “They remember the joys of youth. They remember people who were important to them
who have passed away
or are no longer living nearby.
Buildings have often been removed by deterioration or replaced by new construction. You are young to be having such memories overtake you.”
Today, when I’m visiting the town of my youth,
I’m still making memories.
The doorway to my future is open.
Life for me is still experienced one day at a time.
This may become one of the most interesting THANKSGIVING and Christmas holiday seasons to date.
(Musings of a Homemaker – Houghton Lake Resorter newspaper)
“Get that thing out of here and don’t you ever bring a snake into the house again!” …(Turning from the kitchen sink just as my young son proudly showed me the snake he had captured in a jar.)
It was the fall of 1964. We had three young boys under the age of seven and dirty laundry in the laundry room. Now I was being confronted with a snake in a jar.
Reality was here to stay.
Our countryside is beautiful today. The joy of living in this wonderful place never changes for me.
Snow covered fields have not yet arrived. Even so, the pleasant anticipation of the arrival is a given in this precious season of Thanksgiving in northern Michigan.
There will be no time for me to fix turkey and pumpkin pie this year. With three boys to keep an eye on, laundry to do, and dishes waiting in the sink, where would I find the time?
As is often the case, Mother and Dad will rescue me. They will calm our appetities with an invitation to a bountiful table at their peaceful home.
The joy of the annual Thanksgiving family gathering offers not only good food but pleasant conversation filled with memories of being together during the holiday season.
My greeting card list has not reached the length it will be in the future. I’m trusting that some of our friends who send cards to fill our mailbox will understand when they don’t find one from us in theirs.
Each year it warms our hearts to reach out to friends and family. But, little boys in need of attention at unexpected times assure the notes from me will be short.
The printed verse on the card must say it all.
Mother always had her Christmas greeting cards prepared to send the day after Thanksgiving. I’m sure she reserved the time to prepare them even when pressing family matters used her time too.
I can assure you there were no snakes in jars at the home of my Mother during the growing up years of my sister and me. Mother and I shared our dislike for those little creatures.
Mother was ever faithful with her early holiday greeting and enjoyed the notoriety of being the first greeting to be received by family and friends.
A portion of Thanksgiving day was spent composing her handwritten notes expressing love and best wishes for the coming year.
Time will tell if I inherit Mother’s other traditions as the years go by.
* * *
New Memories New Traditions
This may become one of the most interesting Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons to date.
Married sixty-two years in 2017, my husband, at the age of eighty-seven, passed on to his next life during the month of February.
Two of our little boys are now grown men. Our middle child died six years ago. The experiences of all our lives have taken a very different turn.
The joy of grandchildren and the arrival of three great-granddaughters, Willow, Eva and Meadow, have filled our hearts to overflowing.
At the age of eighty-four, it may be a bit too much to entertain the entire extended family here at the farm for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Looking at it in a different way, it’s sure to become memories in the making for the younger folks who will take on that pleasant responsibility.
There is a large electric cooker in the cupboard and many recipes from my grandmother waiting in the recipe box.
I’ve been thinking about putting up the Christmas tree. How could I fail to do that? This precious season is all about memories, families and the welcoming of the Christ Child.
The passing of years doesn’t change everything. Some things never change.
I began to think of the way we are linked together
through His creation. The markings of the geese are specific,
always the same for a particular breed.
AT THE END OF THE DAY
While enjoying the END OF THE DAY during a late August evening on our porch swing, The readily identifiable sounds of approaching geese could be heard.
The maple trees in our front yard formed a thick canopy over the place where we sat.We could hear the geese, yet couldn’t see them clearly.
One glimpse through the leaves, told us there were five.
The farm has twenty acres, eight of which are hay fields. Geese often headed toward the fields at the end of the day, during late summer, to feed and to rest before starting their journey south for the winter.
As the five flew over our yard, a fluffy white feather floated quietly to the ground.
What were the chances that a tiny feather could find its way through those thick leafy trees, coming to rest on the grass before us?
I began to think of the way we are linked together through His creation. The markings of the geese are specific, always the same for a particular breed.
Our family has now lived on this old farm for 60 years. This was an August evening, the END OF THE DAY, when my husband and I decided to rest on the porch swing to enjoy the quiet of the evening.
Just then, our Maker placed us together with other creatures of His creation.
He is the One who all the oceans placed, set the world in space and created us.
On this late summer evening, He chose to join His creations together for a special moment in time.
A coincidence? Perhaps…
* * * *
Winging low across the evening sky,
with necks outstretched,
the five in line responded to imprinted flight
formed countless centuries ago.
A canopy of leaves formed overhead,
blocking them from view.
Gliding lower, wings now set,
the five flew toward feeding fields at dusk.
How quickly they had come into our solitude,
then disappeared into the evening shadows.
Now out of sight, ghostly silhouettes,
markings meticulously ordained when time began.
A snow white feather drifted slowly to the ground.
Remember the promise to beloved schoolmates?
“Our class will be different.
We’ll keep in touch and we won’t forget.”
Summer begins. School years end. Sheltered and familiar halls of learning will be left behind.
It’s time to venture into the unknown future.
For some, the promised journey is exciting. Others are hesitant to take this next step into an unfamiliar and very large world.
Emotions are deep. All paths lead to life.
Many have traveled along this road.
Hopefully long, sometimes narrow, It is always a winding avenue. Complete with side trips, choices may lead to higher education, marriage or family. One decision will lead to service of country. All will hopefully lead to success.
Each traveler uses his personal key to open the door to the future.
Ahead lie many unexpected opportunities. Some may lead to a detour or temporary failure. The insight needed to understand complicated directions can help to find an individual’s happiness. Life’s journey guides us by trial and error.
Remember the promise to beloved schoolmates? “Our class will be different. We’ll keep in touch and we won’t forget.” Friendships of high-school and college days are never forgotten. Names may slip from mind, faces may fade, but memories of the times spent with friends and comrades will remain for years. It matters not which path is chosen. There will always be fond recollections of the time of graduation.
I wouldn’t even be telling you this
if it wasn’t that I had recently seen posts on Facebook
who had observed the same event
that I experienced…….
“You need to change your ways!” I’ve heard that statement many times. Like the words to an old song, they keep going ‘round in my mind. One of my life changing events was in early spring of 1989, as I recall. A few years before, my husband and I had decided to raise sheep. One day, I suggested we should get a lamb.. After all, we have this little farm. Our grandkids lived next door, it would be fun.
It wasn’t long before my husband came home announcing he’d found a lamb. In fact, he’d found two, a male and a female. They were orphans. They needed people to love and care for them. That would be our family. I don’t remember the exact time frame as the events began to unfold. It wasn’t long after the arrival of the lambs, I casually suggested to my husband, we should start a flock. “We have “Bo” and “Betsy” and the grandkids love them.” We also had this old barn with nothing in it but nothing.
It was then we began our search for mature ewes. We would use them to build our flock. We had Bo. who wasn’t what you’d call a breeder at this young age. He would be in a year or so when he was no longer a “lamb.” The plan to become shepherds was quickly put into action. We were proud and excited about our new, proposed lifestyle.
My husband was in the retail hardware business. I owned and operated a Hallmark shop. This would be fun. A little something extra to give us something to do in our spare time.
One day a gentleman came to call who was interested in looking at our lambing operation. I was more than happy to show him our nearly 100 year old barn, and our new flock of sheep.
Now, this is the point where I veer away from the sheep and explain some of my habits to you. I wouldn’t even be telling you this if it wasn’t that I had recently seen posts on Facebook from women who had observed the same event that I experienced on my journey to the barn that day. Without getting too personal, I’m going to reveal my lifetime habit of getting ready for bed at night.
Included in my habit, was the removing of my jeans and underwear together in one swift motion. Unfortunately this has, on occasion, caused a slight “public” embarrassment. That’s odd, I said I would be getting ready for bed “at night”.) How could that possibly affect my actions in the daytime? Hmm…
Back to the fine gentleman who had come to look at our flock. We were walking to the barn when he turned around, looked quickly back toward the driveway, and said, “Oh! You’ve dropped your hanky.”
Intuitively, as I turned, I knew what I was about to see.
The clump of white lying in the driveway was instantly recognizable to me. It was definitely not my hanky. It was my underwear, which had been clinging, (with the help of static electricity from the dryer, ) to the inside of my jeans.
The undergarment had chosen that moment to release itself from the fabric of my jeans, and to embrace the ground in the driveway. “I’ll get it”, he said, turning around and taking a step toward the object. “No”, I said, “I’ll get it”. We were immediately in competition to get to “the hanky”first .
I outran him by seconds, scooped up ‘the hanky’ and shoved ‘it’ into my jacket pocket.
Bless his heart. He seemed totally unaware , of the rapid beating of my heart, which was not caused from the exertion of running to the area of the driveway in question. You might think the experience would have been a lesson forever etched in my mind. It was definitely time to renew my habits. However, that was not to be. Continuing…
One quiet morning in summer I had opened my Hallmark Shop at nine a.m. allowing my employees to come in later. A pleasant fellow was the first to stop by. He stood just inside the front door, where we visited for twenty minutes or so.
As he turned to leave, he said, “You may want to check the leg of your slacks near your right shoe”.
With that, he went upon his way. Looking down at my shoe, in full view was a visible display of one of my nylons, which was making its way past the static electricity in my slacks to heaven knows where. Can you imagine what the nice fellow must have been thinking as we stood there and talked? He apparently had decided he would tell me just as he went out the door, without looking back. He must have envisioned the expression he would surely see on my face when I found the scene he’d described. I don’t know if men are prone to giggling. But I’ll bet this fellow was giggling as he made his way to the car. At this moment, it’s important for me to tell you I’ve never had either of these experiences again. I really have changed my habits, about certain things.
My friends and family would tell you it is rare for me to change my mind about anything, and I still have some mind changing to do. At Christmas that year, my family gave me a bottle of fabric softener and a pair of nylons with lace edged suspenders sewn on them.
One of the changes I have yet to make is not to share with anyone the embarrassing things that happen to me.