The View From My Window

The world as seen from my window and through my eyes

Songs remind me of people October 31, 2009

Filed under: Short stories from my far — auntlelo @ 11:19 am

You know how it is when you’re listening to the radio and a song comes on that immediately makes you think of a special time or a special person? I’ve been doing housework this morning and have bumped into several songs that immediately made me nostalgic about a person in my life. In case you’re one of those special people, here are a few of those:

Dreamweaver (Gary Wright): my brother-in-law Mike, it always seemed to be playing in his Camaro when he was in it.

Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot) , I Can See Clearly Now (Johnny Nash), and Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon and Garfunkel): my sister Vicki, who bought this sheet music and played it on the piano a lot when she was a teenager

Country Boy and Rocky Mountain High (John Denver), Whispering Hope, This Old House, Mountain Dew and almost any old family song we ever sang together: my brother Kenj and my cousin Kevin. Some of these songs will forever remind me of growing up in a house filled with music and their band. I yearned to be a part of their band, but, was obviously just a little kid and not old enough to sing with the big guys. Being in a band just wasn’t meant to be for me.

Any Peter, Paul and Mary song and the Beatles Red Album: my sister Chris. She was the flower child of the family. Loved the folk musicians from the 60’s and early 70’s (and still does). I nearly wore out her Beatles album when I stayed with her for a week in her basement apartment on Broadway. It was my first real Beatles experience and I’ll always associate that with Chrissy. I was horrified to think I would have to leave that Beatles album behind when I left to go home, but, Mom ran over my cat while I was gone and bought me the double album to make amends on the way home. Sad, but, true.

Any and all songs by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson: my Mom. She was a rabid Waylon Jennings fan.

Yackety Sax (Boots Randolph): my Dad.

A Daisy A Day: Granny Hamilton. She used to always request that song of my brother’s band when they were together.

Any song by Bread, “Coast of Colorado” (Skip Ewing): My husband. The truth is, there are about a million songs that remind me of my husband, but, these are the first couple that came to mind. In addition, the Nancy Griffith “Lone Star State of Mind” album, because I listened to it almost non-stop driving back and forth to Brookfield for visits before we got married.

Killin Time (Clint Black) and It’s Me Again Margaret (Ray Stevens): my son Mark. He loved Clint Black when he was a kid. He also used to lip sync to a Ray Stevens tape and I even have him on video doing the “It’s Me Again Margaret” song.

Boyz to Men songs: my son Bobby

Any Kathy Mattea song: our daughter Heather

Sweet Child o Mine: my son-in-law Josh

November Rain (Guns n Roses), lots of Metallica Songs, Creed, Altar Bridge, etc.: Allen, my guitar playing son

Broadway show tunes: my daughter Annie

Dolly Parton songs: our daughter Ashley, she went through a phase at about the same time Heather went through the Kathy Mattea phase and Mark went through the Clint Black phase. Have her on video too…

Are there any songs that remind people of me? Probably. Feel free to comment on that if you think of any!



A natural blonde May 13, 2008

Filed under: Short stories from my far — auntlelo @ 10:33 am

I just love old photos. They make me feel warm and nostalgic. They’re like old friends. Take a look at this one that just cropped up!

Yes, at one point in my life I was a blonde. A natural blonde. In fact, my Mom used to say when I was very little I was a “cotton-top.” I love this picture of my Mom, Dad and me. It was taken in front of the house where I grew up, out on a farm in rural Callaway County. It was a comfy white house with a red shutters and red shingles on the roof.

Wow, it wasn’t just my hair that looked different back in 1965. I would have been 3 years old in this photo. That meant my Mom would have been 24. That’s just one year older than my daughter Annie is right now. Amazing! Sometimes I look at these photos and it seems like it was just yesterday. Then I look in the mirror and realize that there are 40+ extra years staring back at me. That little kid sure did have a great time growing up on the farm with her Mom and Dad, 3 sisters and a brother. Well, I’m not quite sure about that brother… šŸ™‚


More Mom stories on a soggy Missouri morning May 2, 2008

Filed under: Short stories from my far — auntlelo @ 8:10 am

Continuing my Mom story theme this week, I have a couple of really good ones for this morning. The common thread is: mice.

My Mom hates mice. She also hates cats (ooooh that makes me think of another good Mom story), but, she hates mice more. Growing up, there were a few times that I saw my Mom almost completely out of her wits because of a poor little mouse.

The first story isn’t one that I saw, but, one that I heard about. When I was just a little one, my Uncle Bo and my Dad were away for the weekend. I think it was National Guard stuff or something like that. That meant my Aunt Rosie, Mom’s older sister, was staying at the house with her. They apparently saw a small mouse in the bedroom and jumped up on furniture to get away from it while the mouse ran around on the floor below. The funny part of the story is that my Mom and Aunt Rosie stayed up on that furniture for a long time, afraid of that little mouse. I think the mouse must have been more afraid of them, though. Apparently, that poor little mouse ran around and around the room and finally keeled over dead in the middle of the bedroom floor. Hmmmm, now how are we going to get down? There’s a dead mouse in the middle of the floor! šŸ™‚

The other occasion I remembered very well. The blood curdling scream that woke us from a peaceful slumber one morning. My Mom had gone to the kitchen to fix breakfast, opened the top kitchen drawer to get a spatula and out jumps a mouse! We lived on a farm, so, these things happened. I don’t think my Mom ever got used to the mice, though.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the cat that got her goat! Love ya Ma!


In preparation for Mother’s Day May 1, 2008

It has just come to my attention that Mother’s Day is only about 10 days away. It also happens to fall on my husband’s birthday this year, which always makes me feel guilty. I HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS!

I thought it appropriate to ask all of my readers to comment and provide some of their most special memories of their mothers. They can be sweet and sentimental, funny and endearing, but, they can’t be insulting. (That’s a message for all MY children out there who might think I’d actually publish one of those comments.) šŸ™‚

I’ll start by talking a bit about my Mom. There are things that I remember about her that she doesn’t seem to recall. You know, those special little memories that are captured like small snapshots in the middle of a busy life, never to be forgotten in the mind of a child.

When I was small, I remember my Mom always being very busy. There were 4 children at that time (ultimately there were 5, but, that was later on). One thing I remember very clearly is my Mom sitting down on the couch with me and showing me how to draw a face in profile on a pad of notepaper. She says she doesn’t remember ever doing this. I remember it like it was yesterday. That was the first of a million pads of paper that I filled through the years with sketches.

I also remember Mom letting me drape a big blanket over the top of the dining room table and making it my “tent.” It made me feel like I had my own little place in the living room even though there were lots and lots of other people around. Sounds kind of dorky, but, it was cool to a little kid.

When I think of my Mom I always have memories of good food and family dinners. Spaghetti, fried chicken, pot roast with potatoes and carrots and lots of onions and pies. Mmmmmm. We got to pick what we wanted to have for our birthday dinner and I seem to remember struggling between fried chicken and spaghetti. I remember Tuesday’s being particularly exciting because it was Mom’s day off. When we came home, there were usually pies that had been baked that morning for supper and the most wonderful smells. I can still see that kitchen with Mom in it in my head. It was a wonderful place.

I could go on and on with about a million more memories, but, the cool thing is my Mom is still around and I’m still making memories. What a blessing!

Time to share: Want to share a story or a memory about your Mom?


Bowling for buzzards December 20, 2007

Filed under: Short stories from my far — auntlelo @ 4:01 pm

I couldn’t wait till tomorrow. I was afraid I would get busy, not post in my blog, and all of you would be pining away for the promised entry.

A few years ago when my kids were small and still at home, we drove out to church one Sunday morning (yes, most of my traveling DOES seem to involve traveling to or from church and choir practice). As so often was the case, I was trying to find ways to involve my children in conversation and relieve a little of their boredom. One of the boys suggested something called “bowling for buzzards” when we saw a group of the nasty looking birds gathered around a dead animal a little further up the road.

Apparently, bowling for buzzards was the process of speeding toward the buzzards on the road and getting them to fly away from their prey. I was game (uh, bad choice of words here, wasn’t it). I sped ahead, gleefully watching those nasty birds scatter in flight. All except…THUD!!!!! Oops. I think one of the buzzards was too hungry to pay attention and ended up stuck to the front grill of my vehicle. EWWWWWWWWW!

We get to church and I take a look at the front grill and, sure enough, there were feathers plastered there. As my children ran into church, their Sunday School teacher, Dwight, greeted them and they excitedly told them their Mom had been bowling for buzzards on the way to church and that she ran over one. At that, he drew a frown, looked at me and said:

“You know those are a protected species, don’t you?”

Oh my gosh, are you kidding me? Buzzards? Protected species? This can’t be true. Who would protect something as nasty as a buzzard. Well, I’m not sure whether they were at that time or not. All I know is I stood there in church having just killed an innocent, albeit ugly, creature in the pursuit of entertaining my children and felt just as low as…well, as a buzzard. Yes, let’s face it, I’m a murderer.

And yes, Fat Chick and Henrietta are now staring at me in horror. Sigh.


Another story from my teenage years: What I hit on the way home one night…

Filed under: Short stories from my far — auntlelo @ 10:56 am

Last night on the way home from church, my son Allen alerted me to a deer that was just about ready to jump out onto the road in front of our Tahoe. That Allen has a pretty keen eye and has saved me and/or a deer from grief in the past. He’s a good pair of eyes to have riding “shotgun” when you’re traveling.

He asked if Dad or I had ever hit a deer. We had, once, but I told him that wasn’t the most interesting thing I’d hit. In fact, I’ve hit a couple of rather interesting critters in my time.

When I was around 17, I worked at the Fulton Public Library. I usually drove home around 10 p.m. or so and on this particular evening, it was rainy and dark. (Don’t all great tales start with it was a dark and rainy night?) The road between town and our farm was very hilly and had many blind curves. I had just started down a particularly big hill near my great-uncle Brent’s house, when something darted out in front of the pick-up. THUMP, I heard and I skidded to a stop.

I got out of the truck, heart pounding, to see what it was. There, lying in the road in front of the truck was a billy goat. I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t know where the goat had come from or who it belonged to, but, I was scared to death. The next thing was to look at the truck and see if it was damaged. After all, it wasn’t my truck. It belonged to Mom and Dad and I would be called on to explain any dents, scratches or marks that appeared.

I didn’t know what to do, so, as in most every situation, I quickly drove the rest of the way home and ran into the house to get my Dad. He’d know what to do. He didn’t seem terribly concerned—after all, I’d woken him from a perfectly comfortable slumber and he wasn’t eager to pull on his clothes and go back out in the rain. But, I was emphatic about going to check on that goat in the road, so, my Papa did his fatherly duty and out we went.

We drove back to the spot and got out. And looked. And looked. And looked some more. No goat.

“What do you think happened to it?” I asked my Dad. He grinned and said that like most goats, it probably had a pretty hard head. I’d likely only stunned it and after I left it had probably gotten up, shaken itself off and went merrily on its way.

All that panic for nothing. Stupid goats should stay out of the road anyhow. Too bad not all creatures have such hard heads. Tomorrow I’ll tell you all about the time I took my kids bowling for buzzards…


What do you want to be when you grow up? October 17, 2007

Filed under: Short stories from my far — auntlelo @ 10:55 am

Do you remember the days when you were asked this question and you would answer: a singer, a professional baseball player, an astronaut or a cowboy? Back when I was a little girl, my answer would have been an artist. A little later, around junior high, the answer would have been a singer/songwriter. In high school, I ventured into a very different zone where I decided I wanted to go to the Naval Academy (like my brother) and be an aeronautical engineer. When I did graduate from high school and attended college, my stated major was music business.

So, what am I doing now that I’m sort of grown up? (You’ll never get me to admit being grown up, really, so don’t bother to try.) Nothing that I’d ever imagined, that’s for sure. You see, I’m what is referred to in the language of today as an immigrant. Not to a country, but, to the internet. That means I grew up prior to the internet and have migrated to it. When I was a kid, I would never have answered the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” with “I want to manage a Web Communications team.”

There was no degree in college that would have prepared me for what I do today. It’s a strange hodgepodge of technology, communications and marketing. And, it’s a perfect fit for me. Although I’m not doing what I thought I would be doing all those years ago, the perfect career choice found me anyway. Had it not been for the Web, I might still be in the medical insurance field (yuck) and pining away about not being a professional singer/songwriter. Instead, I get to explore this great new field, work with really cool people and learn something new everyday. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

So, what did you want to be when you grew up? How close are you? Did you stay open minded and let the right career find you?Ā 


What do you remember about going back to school? August 29, 2007

Filed under: Short stories from my far — auntlelo @ 7:49 am

All of this back to school stuff made me remember how I felt when in my childhood I would reachthe end of summer vacation and the start of a new school year.

I lived on a farm and we didn’t have many people who lived nearby. At least, no one my age. Summers got to be pretty long and pretty boring. I was one of those nerdy kids who liked school and started looking forward to going back by the end of the first week of summer vacation!

My summer activities included Bible School for one week, sometimes swimming lessons, and a family vacation in August. That was about it, except for helping in the garden, picking blackberries, doing a few household chores each day and watching soap operas because there was nothing else on TV. Back in those days, we didn’t hang on the phone with our friends either. When I was a kid in grade school, we were still on a party line! (Now I’m showing my age!)

Getting ready to go back to school was fun though. Mom would take us shopping for our school supplies. Do you remember struggling to decide what 3 ring notebook you’d buy and what color pencils you wanted? Seems sort of silly now, but, we really did think it was important back then. Buying clothes and new tennis shoes was fun, too. I remember a really hideous hot pink dress that I desperately wanted to buy at JC Penney’s one year. My Mom hated the dress and did her best to talk me out of it. Nothin doin. I had to have that dress. I even had my school picture taken in it. Yes, I just saw a picture of myself a week or two ago in that dress with a short pixie haircut. Hideous, hideous, hideous!

The first day of school brought butterflies to my stomach. Getting on the bus for the first time (remember the smell of the school bus?) was a pretty scary thing. I always wondered if my friends from the year before would still be there or if someone had moved over the summer. Change was hard, even then. It only took a day or two, though, to settle into a routine. I loved school. I still have fond memories of those years of my life.

To all the kids who have just started back to school, I hope you have a good year. Study hard and play hard. You’ll do just fine. (Just stay away from hideous pink dresses!)

What do you remember most about starting back to school?Ā 


What I remember about my first vacation August 24, 2007

Filed under: Short stories from my far — auntlelo @ 10:12 am

The summer was filled with lots of events and although I took some time off work, I didn’t get to take an actual vacation this year. Oh well, since it didn’t work out for me to take a vacation, I’ll just reminisce about vacations past…

The things I remember most about my first family vacation at age 6:

  • Tongue sandwiches. My Granny fixed dinner for us the night before we left and I remember vividly the site of boiled tongue coming out of a pan and laid on the plate for slicing. It was a horrible thing to see. An even more horrible thing to try to eat. It was a life-changing event. I’ve never eaten it since. Thank goodness we were leaving the next day. Can you imagine leftover tongue? Ewwwww!!
  • It was my first real experience with restaurants. I loved eating at restaurants. However, every day I would order something called “hotcakes” from the menu, and every day the restaurant would get my order wrong and send me pancakes. No one bothered to explain to the kid that they were the same thing. By the end of the week, I finally got the message and started ordering eggs.
  • My parents got really annoyed at all of us for ordering certain things at the restaurant that we normally didn’t partake in when it was set before us at home and for a fraction of the cost. I remember the lecture about tomato juice as though it was yesterday…
  • Yellowstone National Park SMELLED REALLY BAD! I couldn’t quite understand everyone being so excited about looking at spraying water and holes in the ground that stunk like rotten eggs. PHEWWWW! I did think the bison were pretty cool though.
  • Speaking of bison, they were nice to look at, but, not great to eat. I’m not sure about the fancy meal in a certain hotel we had. Daddy said it was range-fed beef or buffalo or something like that. Anyhow, they tasted really weird and I don’t think any of us ate our hamburgers. The soup was good though!
  • The Corn Palace was a really, really cool place for a 6 year-old kid.
  • I got tired of riding in a car. I remember sleeping a lot. The kids picked on each other and Mom and Dad fussed at us for arguing. You know, the usual car trip stuff.
  • I remember swimming at the motel. I was at the top of the slide and Daddy was encouraging me to come down (it was my first time) and he’d catch me. He lied and thought it was funny. End of story.

Doesn’t it make you want to relive your childhood? Next time, I’ll tell you what happened when we went to Washington, DC. šŸ™‚


The tradition of birthday dinner August 13, 2007

Filed under: Short stories from my far — auntlelo @ 7:58 pm

Every family has their unique traditions concerning special events and how they are observed. One of those very important traditions as I was growing up was the birthday dinner.

Our family was a large one. I was one of five kids and we believed in the inclusion of extended family. After all, I grew up next door to my grandparents! Large clans like ours didn’t go out to dinner. We ate at home. This wasn’t a bad thing, as my Mom was a great cook. However, even eating at home took on a whole new meaning when it came to birthdays. You see, the birthday person got to choose ANYTHING they wanted for their birthday dinner!

I always had a hard time choosing between my three favorites: fried chicken, fried shrimp and spaghetti. It was a difficult choice and varied from year to year. The dessert was often angel food cake with that lovely, sticky 7-minute frosting. As I got older, it became Mom’sĀ  made-from-scratch German chocolate cake.

This came to mind as I looked through some photos recently and noted one of my birthday photos. It was a picture of me at the dinner table wearing a homemade birthday hat that I’d created for myself. On the table in front of me was a plate empty of everything but a pile of shrimp tails and a bottle of Nehi Grape soda. In case you couldn’t read the flavor on the bottle, you’d be able to tell because of the tell-tale grape “mustache” I was wearing!

The birthday dinner tradition lives on with my own kids. One of the most frequent requests is lasagna, garlic bread and cheesecake for dessert. Dad’s BBQ is pretty popular, too. My kids dislike store bought desserts immensely and rather than cake, most often choose pie of some sort. We’re a pie kind of family, you know.

Even though I’m 45 years old, the birthday dinner tradition is still alive and well. My Mama still cooks for me on a day close to my birthday. Although I don’t always choose the same things I did when I was a kid, it’s pretty close. This year instead of fried shrimp I requested a low country boil. Not only did I get shrimp, but, I got crab legs, too!

Traditions are great for everything except the waistline…