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Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Entry 149: 1980 Adam's Missing Boot

Adam came running into the shop demanding Larry’s immediate attention.  He had a look between fear and pride on his face.  He was missing one of his boots.  When Larry asked him where the boot was Adam insisted Larry needed to follow him so he could see for himself.  

Adam led Larry to the driveway by the field where he had been riding the three-wheeler.  He said the boot got stuck when he “bumped” into the telephone pole. The three-wheeler was laying on its side in such a fashion Adam could not get free.  His foot was wedged between the bike and the hard dirt.  He solved the problem simply by pulling his foot from the boot.
 Larry sent Adam into the house to get me.  He probably thought I’d give Adam a lecture when I saw the boot but I didn’t  I was just glad he was okay and there were no cuts, scrapes, or tears involved.  My best guess is this was just before Adam’s fifth birthday.
 Larry could tell from the smirk on Adam’s face he’d learned a valuable lesson on what happens when a moving object hits a permanent one.  Fortunately there were no broken bones and no tears.  Larry easily set the three-wheeler upright.  
Adam slipped his foot into his boot, jumped on the three-wheeler, and sped down the driveway towards the orchards.  He didn’t stand around long enough for us to tell him to be more careful or to stay on the paths.  He didn’t look back or give us as much as a thank you.  As he passed the livestock he revved his motor…but just a little!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Book Entry 148: 1980 Part of Life on the Farm

Animals are fascinating.  Being raised on a farm our kids were around all types of animals.  We had chickens, ducks, cows, goats, horses, and pigs.  I think our whole family loved the animals. 

       Sometimes animals meant chores.  There was feeding time twice a day, cleaning water troughs, putting ointment on sores, and moving animals from one pen to another when needed. 
The kids learned early the animals had to be fed everyday not just on good weather days.  I remember many times on cold wet mornings layering on sweaters and jackets so the kids could go fulfill their duties.
Larry could have fed them in a fraction of the time but the kids learned what it meant to have someone, even an animal, depend on them for food, water, and life.  Many times they’d come into the house, tracking mud behind them, with huge smiles on their faces telling me one animal or another said, “Thank you.”  I think they really meant it too; the animals each had names and personalities.  They became friends with the kids.  The cow pictured here was “Velvet.”  Her hide was as soft as velvet.  When she had her calf Larry bought four more from a neighbor.  She nursed all five.  Of course she only had four udders so they would do a merry-go-round type of head-butting thing pushing one another off an udder to get a turn.  It was hilarious.  

Sometimes animals were great teachers answering a lot of questions for little ones before they needed to be asked. It became obvious to the kids baby cows came from mommy cows, baby chickens came from mommy chickens and so on.  I don’t think any of our kids ever asked, “Where do babies come from?”  

Most of all the animals were just a lot of fun to watch.  We had lawn chairs out by the animal pens and corrals.  We’d go out with the kids and just sit.  We’d watch any time there were babies being born.  The kids were able to hold little piggies when they were minutes old and still clean.  They held newly hatched chicks up to their cheeks to feel the soft warm feathers.  They were there when calves were born and “helped” them stand for the first time.  
Sometimes we’d just sit and watch the kids play with the animals.  One fun game they played was follow-the-leader.  After petting goats or calves they would often follow the kids.  It was really funny.  Sometimes they’d follow a little too close or too fast and collisions would occur.  The kids all learned a little manure on the butt of your jeans won’t kill you.  It might soak through to your skin but it won’t kill you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Entry 147: 1980 Halloween Costumes

It was a fun Halloween season.  I was getting pretty good following pattern instructions with my sewing.  As the big day grew close I let each of the kids pick their costume from the catalog at the fabric shop.  They turned out pretty good to if I do say so myself.

                                           Heidi was a clown.

                                        Robin was a princess.

                                        Adam was Superman.

 I even had the privilege of making a costume for Rebecca Kiss who was in our home a lot that year.  Each costume fit perfectly.  The kids looked great.  They all enjoyed showing them off at school.  They were proud and so was I.  
Adam didn’t stop wearing his costume.  I told him he was faster than a speeding bullet.  He flew thru the house for weeks.  He would say as he went, “Look at me mommy; I’m faster than a peedy bullet.”  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book Entry 146: 1980 A "Boys Day"

         Larry acquired a small aluminum boat.  He prepared Adam for a “boy’s day” fishing.  He showed him how to bait the hook and hold his fishing pole.  He gave him instructions on how to handle an oar and to stay seated while the boat was in the water.  
I remember them sitting in the boat together in the back yard.  Adam’s whole face was smiling.  He was so excited to be planning a dad with his dad.  When I looked at Larry he was smiling just as much as Adam.  The two of them did get to spend a lot of time together but it was mostly in the shop.  The day they were planning was going to be a day of fun.  

 The day turned out great!  Good weather, good fun, and good luck!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Book Entry 145: 1981 Not a Surgery --- A "Procedure"

          Once again I was headed into an operating room.  One of my kidneys was giving me a lot of trouble.  I can’t remember what I was diagnosed with but what it came down to was the kidney would not drain properly.  As the kidney would reach capacity it would become painful.  I would wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I was being stabbed in the back with a knife.  I remember Larry waking me more than once to see if I was okay because I was groaning in my sleep.  
            Dye was injected and I was laid on a revolving table.  I was put in every position imaginable, including upside down, and still no results.  Surgery was scheduled to insert a stint into my kidney to improve drainage.
During the time between the dye test and the “procedure” I was diagnosed with internal shingles.  
My only symptom to tell the doctor was that I itched.  When he asked me about the pain in my back I was happy to say it had been less since the itching had begun.  He laughed while he told me I now had Shingles as well.  He explained his laughter by saying Shingles damages the nerve endings and mine had evidently damaged the nerve endings in my back that were causing so much pain.  The doctor said God Himself was working on me.  We both had a good laugh knowing one malady was making another more bearable.
The nurse was making small talk with me as she prepared me for my turn in the operating room.  Making small talk she told me of a joke she’d played on her husband.  I can’t remember what her story was but for some reason those darn chickens I’d secretly sent to Larry so many years earlier came to mind! 
My perfect joke suddenly became the only thing I could think about.  I just had to make sure Larry knew I had mailed him those chicks before I went under the anesthesia.  I blurted out my confession of how I’d pulled it off so perfectly.  I guess I didn’t want to die during surgery and not get credit for the best joke I’d ever played!  The nurse laughed until she had tears running down her cheeks. 
Even with the stint the kidney would not drain.   I can’t even remember now when it stopped hurting but after a few years I didn’t need to keep seeing the kidney specialist any longer. 


When I woke up from the surgery the first thing Larry said to me was that he loved me.  The second thing he said was he just couldn’t believe I had sent the chicks and kept the secret for more than twenty years!  We had a great laugh.  I didn’t even really care the secret was gone.  We had a blast telling everyone about it for a long while.  Even now we love to share our mail-order chicken story with anyone who will listen.  And even now I am still proud of myself for pulling it off so well!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Book Entry 144: 1980 Yosemite

Later in the summer we were back in Yosemite again.  There seemed to be more bears than usual in the Yosemite Valley.  We were tent camping.  The kids and I were in the tent.  Larry was lying just outside the tent across the doorway.  We’d been in our sleeping bags for a while and slowing the kids, one by one, were falling to sleep.  I heard an odd sound from outside and peeked under the tent door flap.  

I called to Larry telling him there was a bear just outside the tent.  .  He asked how far away not wanting to frighten it away so he could get a good look at it.  Larry didn’t seem to realize just where the bear was.  When I told him it was on the end of his sleeping bag he stayed very quiet, opened his eyes, and instead of seeing the bear we were seeing, saw the bear in the following picture. 

Being my hero, which he is, he flew out of that sleeping bag and towards the picnic table.  He began yelling as loudly as he could in efforts to scare the bear away from the tent door.  This was probably around 10 o’clock in the evening, just as all the campers are quietly enjoying their fires and trying to get the little ones to sleep. 
Larry’s noise was heard!  The bear looked at him like he was as threatening as a tree stump and slowly meandered away.  The bear wasn’t the only one that heard Larry’s screams.  Flashlights started turning on all around us.  A woman screamed a couple of campsites away as the bear walked through her camp.  More light beams landed on Larry as the seconds passed. 
There stood Larry in his underwear with 20 or more flashlights directed right on him.  I think everyone was so excited about the bear they didn’t really notice what Larry was wearing.  But in a very embarrassing moment, Larry did.  He grabbed his pants lying by his sleeping bag and literally jumped into them.  A crowd of over thirty campers gathered and talked and laughed for a good half an hour.  Slowly everyone wished all a good night and we all went back to bed.  We have never forgotten that incident.
The next afternoon an even bigger bear walked through our camp.  He didn’t stop; he just slowly walked in the direction of the nearby apple orchard.  There was a large group of Japanese folks camping just up the road.  They were following behind the bear.  Larry and I and the kids followed too.  Larry started walking faster than everyone else and got quite a bit ahead of the group.  It was easy to see these folks were a lot more timid concerning the bear.  They were all carrying pots and pans and making noise to scare the bear away from their camp areas. 
         Larry and the bear were probably about 50 yards ahead of the group, and just at the edge of the meadow, when he turned and started running back toward the crowd.  “He’s coming, he’s coming this way” he shouted.  Those folks all turned at once and started running for home!  I don’t think their feet touched the ground and I don’t think any of them ever looked back.  

When Larry and I got back to camp we laughed ourselves silly.  Heidi, Robin, and Adam stayed a little closer to camp after that.  If they wandered too far I’d simple tell them if they heard any growling to come back to our camp.  They’d freeze in their tracks, gather together in a group, and come close to an adult.  I don’t think that old bear even knew what happened.  He just stayed on course for the apply orchard.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book Entry 143: 1980 Gods Alarm Clock

We loaded the pickup and camper with enough clothes and food to last us for a week and headed for Yosemite.  We drove up to Tuolumne Meadows for the day.  We thought of camping there but as I remember the camps were full.  After playing along the river for a while we headed back down toward Yosemite Valley.

In those days you got your campsite by the “first come first served” method.  We parked in a pull out along the side of the road.  We were just about thirty minutes from the entrance to Yosemite and planned on waking early to be the first in line for the following day.  We didn’t have an alarm clock.  I told the kids to pray we’d wake up in time to get a good spot in line before we all went to sleep.
It was about four in the morning when we heard a noise just outside the window.  When Larry and I looked out we could see a bear sitting next to our camper with our steel belted heavy duty Coleman cooler between his legs.  With one mighty blow from his forearm the lid flew open. 
        We started banging on the window and making noise to scare the bear.  The bear hardly even looked our direction.  When Larry opened the back of the camper and started banging pots and pans to scare the bear it simply grabbed the cooler by the handle and started pulling it down the hill to get away from us.  That silly bear didn’t even run, he just meandered away into the darkness.  I can still see Heidi’s face watching her dad as he chased that old bear with a flashlight.  Her eyes got bigger and bigger as he disappeared down the hill behind the bear.
A great feeling of relief swept over Heidi’s face when she could see her daddy reappearing. I actually felt my eyes widened when I saw he was carrying our ice chest.
 We loaded up, adrenalin raging, and made our way to the valley floor where we waited in line to enter the park.  We got a terrific spot to camp for the following week.  Larry put the ice chest on the table.  We started sorting through the food to see what we could still use.  Larry had quickly scooped some of the items back into the chest before reclaiming it from the bear.
As we sorted the contents of the ice chest several other campers came to look at the dents and claw marks in our aluminum ice box.  It was a heavy duty container.  Even though the bear had managed to spill out several pounds of hamburger and bacon as well as lunch meats and some butter, we had enough to last us for the week.  We did need to buy a few things at the little Yosemite grocery store but not much.

We had fun laying all the damaged things on the picnic table and watching  the campers look through it.  There was a pound box of butter torn in half.  Two cubes were missing, one had been bitten in half and the last remained untouched.  There was half a packet of steaks that had been chewed away and left behind.  We had lost all but two eggs!  One pack of hamburger had deep tooth marks all over it showing where the bear had tried to bite it.  The lid and top inch of the gallon milk carton were gone.  The meats were all frozen solid or I’m sure we would have lost it all!
We had wanted to wake up early and even mentioned to one another that neither of us had brought a watch.  We laughed at how God had seemed to wake us with such an incredible event.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book Entry 142: 1980 Gophers, Onions, and "Poag"

         We had an interesting fellow rent a small house on our property.  His name was Astor Poag.  He was an older gentleman with a crusty nature.  He loved to tell stories, to raise a garden, and to walk in the field with our kids.  He hated onions, “stupid people,” and gophers! 
          Almost any time we drove by his house he would be out in his garden poised with a rifle at the opening of a gopher hole.  The more he could kill in a day the better his day was.  He did not want to share his garden with them and he didn’t!  When there were no fresh gopher holes at his home he would spread out into the fields where there were always plenty.  He would even come to our house and hunt when he’d notice a fresh mound. 
We came home one Sunday after church to find he had killed a gopher and hung it from the extended ladder on Adam’s fire truck.  We walked in the back yard and there it was.  We knew instantly “Poag,” as we all called him, was having a good day.  Imagine the little fire truck shown above with a gopher neatly hanging from the extended ladder.
One time, as a joke, Larry’s dad hid a few onions under the seat of Poag’s car.  He smelled the onions right away, took them out and burned them, and wouldn’t speak to Larry or his dad for at least six months. He didn’t think their joke was the least bit funny.  
This photo was taken a couple years before we found the gopher hanging on the fire truck.  It is one of my only photographs of Poag.  
 Robin thought it was one of her jobs to be sure Poag loved Jesus.  She would go for walks with him in the fields.  When they came back to the house they would both be beaming from their conversation.  He told her that he believed in Jesus as a boy and she took some comfort in that.  Our kids really loved that old fellow.  He was abrupt and sometimes mean spirited but they seemed to see beyond that and love him just the same.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Book Entry 141: 1979 Chicken Pox

The Chicken Pox came home from school with Heidi.  She had an average amount of spots and a controllable amount of itching.  She actually looked good in pink spots.  We counted Heidi’s spots one afternoon.  She had about four hundred.  I told her when everyone was well we’d go to the Penguin Ice Cream Parlor for a banana split.  Somehow the promise of a tasty treat made the itching a little more bearable.
When I looked at Heidi I remembered the time in Mission Springs when the next door girl got into Poison Ivy and her mom covered her with pink Calamine Lotion.
When Heidi was through the worst of her Chicken Pox Adam started getting spots.  My poor little Adam must have had one hundred spots for each one Heidi had.  He had so many spots they ran together.  He had them in his ears, up his nose, and anywhere else you could imagine.  He itched horribly.  We didn’t even try to count his spots, he had thousands!
We pulled the cover off the pool and let the kids sit on the steps.  I figured the Chlorine wouldn’t hurt and might even help.  We took our little soaking times in the pool about 6 times a day for days.  Finally his spots began to lighten, dry, and go away.
Next was Robin.  Heidi and Adam were getting excited for an ice cream treat.  We had to put the banana split off to give Robin time to heal.  Adam said it wasn’t fair that he’d had so many spots and Robin only had a few.  I told Adam there would be no ice cream for Robin if she didn’t have at least fifty spots.  I carefully counted while Adam and Robin watched.  Adam was sitting in front of Robin and didn’t know when I was counting spots on her back I had to count twenty that weren’t even there for her total to get to fifty.  She only had about thirty spots.  
Robin didn’t feel like playing one afternoon when the others were in the pool.  She sat on the steps of the pool naming her chicken pox.  I thought it was hilarious.  She named one for everyone in her kindergarten class and her Sunday school class.  She named one for the preacher, her teacher, and even one for me and Larry.  
Her biggest chicken pox was right in the middle of her back. It was probably about as big around as a quarter.  It itched really badly and she could find no relief.  She named that one Billy Pox after a little boy in school who she didn’t like very much.  I thought that was hilarious!

All three kids sympathized with one another.  It was nice to see them helping when they could.  They all lived through the experience and the banana splits were well deserved and wonderful!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Book Entry 140: 1979 I Had a Makeover

          I only add this chapter to my book for my kids to know my medical record.
         In 1979, after many months of discomfort and coming to the conclusion we would not be having more babies, I opted to have a hysterectomy.  It would solve my problem and I would no longer need to deal with such pain.  
I looked forward to having the surgery finished.  After my experience with my earlier surgery I was not looking forward to seeing the operating room again.  My kids, on the other hand, all remembered the hidden presents and the fun time they had following my treasure map directions to finding them.  
I was told this stay in the hospital would be shorter, only four days.  I didn’t need to buy or hide so many gifts.  I was glad as I needed all new hiding places.  Notes were written, gifts were hidden, and instructions were given to Larry about the daily searches.
I was more than a little apprehensive when I was rolled into surgery.  I had been given a shot to help me relax. I looked around the room for a familiar face and saw none.  The next thing I remember was someone saying, “Wake up Joyce, it’s all over and you did great.”  Of course when I got to my room there was a beautiful bouquet of red roses waiting for me from Larry.
That surgery was the best thing I ever did.  No regrets.  No looking back.  I did so well and recovered so quickly when my dentist told me a couple months later I needed my wisdom teeth taken out it didn’t even bother me.  I made an appointment for the following week.  

By the time my appointment came around I was not as relaxed about the extraction as I had been.  I had talked to a friend at church who shared with me when he had his wisdom teeth pulled he was asked to leave the office by the back door because his face had swollen so much.
I remember when the dentist asked if I wanted the left side or the right side pulled on that visit I answered, “Pull them all, because if it hurts I won’t be coming back.”  I was only half-way kidding.  The dentist pulled out all four.  He had a hard time getting two of them out but I never felt a thing.  I didn’t need any stitches.  Larry brought home Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner and I was able to eat it!  

The following week I was so happy with the way everything was going I had my ears pierced!  When I picked the girls up from school I had my hair pulled behind my ears.  I asked them if they noticed anything new.  They both squealed immediately, “Your ears are pierced.”  
Yep, hysterectomy, wisdom teeth extracted, and ears pierced.  I was on a roll!