Story Time ~ Happy Birthday America!

Written by
Katherine Hinchee Purdy

It’s that time of year again! The time to look back, reflect and thank God for our wonderful country. Thankful for freedom! Happy Independence Day weekend!

Photo used with permission.
Photo used with permission.

“Isabel Greene, if you don’t stand still you will get stuck with a pin,” Mama said as she pinned the blue fabric with straight pins from her mouth.

“But I like to swish!”

“That’s fine,” Mama said as she removed another pin from her mouth and turned the child around to get to the back of the dress. “You may swish all you want – after I finish hemming your dress.”

“Yes Mama,” Isabel said quietly but swished her skirt as Mama bent over to retrieve the pins she had just dropped.

“Baby Maggie didn’t have to stand up to get her dress hemmed,” Isabel said as she looked at her little sister sitting in the high chair nibbling on a piece of crust.

“Baby Maggie doesn’t know how to stand yet. Now carefully step down from the stool and look at your dress in the mirror.”

“Oh Mama, it’s beautiful.” Isabel said as she swished from side to side. Ouch! It bit me!”

“That was just a pin dear. Now turn around slowly,” Mama said as she stood back to get a better view. “Isabel, you will look like a doll on the fourth of July! Just like a little sailor girl.”

Just then the screen door clapped loudly and Mama turned to see Isabel’s two older brothers racing to the ice box. “Just a glass of milk boys, lunch will be ready soon!”

“Mama,” Eugene said as he glanced at Isabel swishing in her new blue dress trimmed in red and white. “Do we hav’ta wear those silly costumes to the parade and picnic tomorrow?”

“Yeah,” five-year-old Curtis chimed in. “Those look too sissy!”

“No, they do not look sissy and yes, you must wear the sailor suits I made for you. It’s perfect for the occasion.”

“The other boys will laugh!” Eugene plopped into the kitchen chair and reached for the cookie jar.”

“If anyone laughs at a sailor suit, they should be ashamed of themselves.” Mama took the cookie jar and placed it into a cupboard. “Besides, your nephews will be wearing the same thing. After all, your half-brother Jim is in the army and Fred is in the navy. You are wearing the suits to honor them. They are fighting for freedom. Don’t ever forget that,” Mama said softly as she placed her sewing notions into her basket and put it away.  “Isabel,” Mama said as she reached for the child. Carefully take off that dress and put your play dress back on. Here, let me help you. We’ll get you changed in your room while the boys finish their milk.”

~*~

     The next morning, Isabel awoke to the sound of Papa whistling a new song they had heard on Grandpa’s radio. Over There by Mr. George M. Cohen. “Catchy tune, aint it?” Papa said as Isabel entered the room wearing her new dress. “Well, don’t you look pretty?”

“Thank you, Papa.”

“Oh dear,” Mama said. “It’s too soon to wear your new dress; it will get dirty. We’ll get you all prettied up when it’s almost time to go.”

“Yeah,” Eugene said, “Don’t want to spill milk on it” and stopped short; whispering in Curtis’ ear.”

“Boys,” Mama said sternly, “if you mess up your suits before we go, I will insist that you wear the sailor hat Jim sent you.”

Eugene and Curtis looked at each other and then quickly shoveled oatmeal with their heads bent over the bowl.

“Mama, we could make bows for their hair just like the ones you made for Maggie and me.” Isabel said with a twinkle in her eyes.

“No way!” Curtis shouted and looked at Papa for help.

“Better do as your Mama says boys, I wouldn’t want to see my boys running around with a girls bow in their hair!” Papa looked at Isabel and winked.

~*~

     “Are we there yet?” Isabel asked from the back of the buckboard.

“We’ll be there in three shakes of a lambs tail,” Papa said with an edge of impatience in his voice.

Isabel closed her eyes and imagined a fluffy white lamb shaking its little tail three times. “It shook three times. Are we there yet?”

Papa turned to Mama. “She can count?”

“She can count to ten!” Mama said proudly, “By next month, she may be able to…” Music, clapping, chatter and laughter filled the air with excitement.

“Papa, they’re playing the song you were whistling this morning,” Eugene said and began singing along with the music.

“And we’ll all be glad when it’s over-over there!”

“I hope we didn’t miss the parade,” Curtis said as he cast a sidelong look at Mama who, in his estimation, took too much time packing lunch and dressing the girls.

“Nope, the parade doesn’t start until two so that everyone will have time to eat lunch. I would like to catch some of the baseball game. How about I take the boys over to the stands? The game will begin after the band plays a couple of songs.”

“That’s fine,” Mama said, “but don’t buy any hotdogs or peanuts! We have better ways to spend our money.”

Papa made quick work unloading the buckboard and herded the boys towards the baseball stands.

~*~

     “Lizzie! Isabel! Over here!”

Mama placed baby Maggie into the pram and reached for Isabel’s hand as they followed Lindy’s voice.

“Hello little sister,” Lindy said as she picked up Maggie and spun her around. “Why, Isabel! You look like a china doll in that lovely sailor dress.”

“Oh look, little Maggie is wearing one too. Where did you buy them?”

Mama beamed at her two little girls and addressed her step-daughters and daughters-in-law. “I made them. The boys are wearing sailor suits too although it was like pulling teeth to get the boys to wear them!” Laughter filled the air as relatives welcomed them to the Fair Grounds.

“Don’t unpack your food yet,” Aunt Jenny said as she turned and reached for Baby Maggie. Cleo is checking with the vendors to see how much the hot dogs cost. They smell too good to pass up! Oh good. There she is now.”

“I can’t believe it!” Cleo said as she reached the group. “The prices are actually reasonable. You can buy two hotdogs for a nickel or a big hamburger for a nickel. Peanuts are only 2 cents per bag. What do you think? Shall we feed our gang with Fair grounds food?”

Isabel chimed in with the other children. “We want hotdogs, we want hotdogs! Pleassssssssssssssssseeeeee?”

Mama opened her coin purse and smiled. “I think we have enough – this time. What shall we do until lunch time?”

“The swings are free. Why don’t we take the children over there. They can play in the sandbox too.” Lena said as she picked up her baby Grace, soothed her and placed her back into the baby carriage. “We have so much to talk about. The game will be over before you know it!”

     Isabel ran to catch up with her nieces and younger nephews. “Isabel,” Mama’s voice rang loud and clear. “Don’t get your dress dirty!”

Just as Mama finished speaking, Isabel tripped on a tree root and skinned her knee. Tears filled her eyes as she looked down at dirt covering her new dress and a large red spot on her white, torn stockings. “I’m sorry Mama. I’m so sorry,” Isabel repeated as Mama stooped down to assess the damage.

“Oh, you’ve skinned your knee!” Mama reached into her pocket and pulled out a small container of water and her handkerchief. “It will be okay. It’s not a deep cut but it may be sore for a while.”

“But I got my dress dirty.” Isabel’s blue eyes filled with tears as she looked up at Mama’s compassionate face.

     “That’s alright dear. The dirt brushes away and we’ll just slip those stockings off and no one will know the difference. Besides, do you know why we are here today?”

“There’s a parade and a picnic and a-a-fire?”

“Fireworks. Beautiful but loud streams of light fill the sky in a beautiful show!” Mom said as she finished cleaning the scratch and blew a kiss over the spot to make it heal more quickly. “Tender loving care always helps,” Mama said with a smile. “Now about the special day. Did you know that a long time ago our land was owned by a king far, far away? The king had never been to America but he claimed it anyway by sending ships of soldiers to make sure we obeyed his rules and paid high taxes. We sent letters to the king. We sent men to the king to tell him he was being unfair; that we could work something out but the king was selfish. He wanted the land and people to do his will. Well, the reason people came here so long ago was to be free of the king and his unreasonable rules. Did you know that America was the only place people could go in order to worship God and The Lord Jesus Christ without people trying to stop them?”

Isabel shook her head and listen wide-eyed.  “Well,” Mama said as she reached for her grandchildren who gathered around, “people prayed for a solution. They prayed for the king to change his mind.”

“Did he?” a little boy spoke up. Isabel suddenly realized they were surrounded by children she had never seen before and the swings were empty.

“No, sad to say, he didn’t.” Mama said softly. “He made it harder for our people. They had to pay taxes on just about everything. Finally, some men in Boston – up north- had enough. They couldn’t take it anymore. Back then, Americans liked to drink English tea instead of coffee. Fabric from clothes were brought on English ships. Just about everything we needed came from there but we decided we would make our own fabric. We had sheep and goats to sheer and spin the fibers into wool for knitting and weaving. We called it homespun.”

“Homespun!” a little girl spoke up. “My grandma made that!”

Mama nodded with a smile and continued. “One night when the supply ship was in Boston harbor, some of the men dressed up like Indians and sneaked aboard the ship and threw all the barrels of tea into the water. To this day, we call it The Boston Tea Party.”

“Wow!” A little boy exclaimed and leaned in closer. “What happened next?”

An older boy stood up. “It started a war didn’t it?”

“Yes it did.” Mama said and took a deep breath. The king was so angry, he sent thousands of soldiers, wearing fancy red coats with lots of guns and swords. They thought our men were not very smart and wouldn’t know how to fight so they expected the war to end quickly. But they were wrong. Oh, we didn’t have fancy uniforms – except for the officers. George Washington led our men. We had “militia” which meant they were farmers, black smiths, wheelwright’s, merchants, regular men who volunteered to protect our land.

Our men fought to protect their wives, their children, their parents and their land. They fought in the fields. They fought behind trees and fought in ways the British soldiers were not used to. Very important, smart men; the Continental Congress worked together in secret so that the kings soldiers wouldn’t know what they were doing. John Adams persuaded a plantation owner  from Virginia named Thomas Jefferson to write a declaration of independence. In fact, that’s just what it is called. The Declaration of Independence. It declared we were free from British rule and were a country now with 13 separate states working together for our freedom.  The Declaration of Independence was signed by some very famous men including John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock. Each man who signed represented their state. Isn’t that wonderful?

Isabel watched boys and girls nodding their heads and nodded with them. Another child stood and cleared his voice to get Mama’s attention. “Ma’am we won that war, didn’t we?”

Mama’s smile lit her face. Yes indeed we won that war and became a free nation under God. The Declaration of Independence was accepted by all of the men on July 4, 1776. Today is July 4, 1917. We are celebrating today because today is the birthday of our great nation – The United States of America!

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~*~

     Isabel watched in wonder as the band played songs that night and men in the same uniforms her older half-brothers wore marched to the bandstand. One man in each different uniform carried a flag and one held a large red, white and blue flag with white stars in the top corner. Everyone stood. Man raised their hand to their forehead in a salute, other men, women and children stood too. Mama showed Isabel how to place her hand on her heart and whispered in Isabel’s ear, “To honor men who fought for our freedom, to honor men like your brothers who are fighting today for freedom and to show that we love our wonderful country, the beautiful United States of America!”

Suddenly, there were loud blasts causing Isabel to jump and baby Maggie to cry. Papa picked up Isabel and put her on his shoulders. The sky was filled with beautiful colors and shapes. “Fireworks,” Papa said.

“Like birthday candles?”

Papa chuckled. “Well, it’s our country’s birthday so I guess so.”

Little Isabel thought about the story Mama had told her earlier; that men died so that we could live free. “Happy Birthday, America, Happy Birthday!” she shouted.  “Thank you God for giving us a free country – like Mama said!”

 

The Churning Song

We go to the grocery store and pick up a box containing four sticks of butter to use for cooking and baking. It wasn’t always this easy. Not for women like my great-grandmother who lived on a farm!

Butter Churn

The cow was milked, cream skimmed from the top and then butter was churned. It wasn’t an easy task when our great, great-grandmother churned butter. There was a rhythm to churning.  I saw this on another blog called YesterYear Once More. (Check out the links below.)  I don’t know about you but I am thankful for today’s convenience but it would be fun to try churning butter just once. I love singing as I work so this would be twice as fun!

 

THE CHURNING SONG.

Apron on and dash in hand,
O’er the old churn here I stand —
Cachug!
How the thick cream spurts and flies,
Now on shoes and now in eyes!
Cachug! Cachug!

Ah! how soon I tired get!
But the butter lingers yet;
Cachug!
Aching back and weary arm,
Quite rob churning of its charm!
Cachug! Cachug!

See the golden specks appear!
And the churn rings sharp and clear —
Cachink!
Arms, that have to flag begun,
Work on, you will soon be done —
Cachink! Cachink!

Rich flakes cling to lid and dash;
Hear the thin milk’s watery splash!
Calink!
Sweetest music to the ear,
For it says the butter’s here!
Calink! Calink!

— Silas Dinsmore, in St Nicholas.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Mar 4, 1899

The Butter Churning Song

 

via The Churning Song

Sunshine for Little Alice

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Yesterday morning, I walked into the guest room to open the blinds for our three kitties, Little Alice and our two Maine Coons, Skippy and Ruby.

It wasn’t quite 7am but I was too late. Alice got tired of waiting. She was ready for sunshine, birdwatching and snickering at the dogs as they passed by on a leash. She would never consent to that! She’s our very independent but sweet baby.

Sometimes, we need Sonshine in our lives. Instead of being gloomy, let’s open God’s Word and see what light and joy He has to share with us today!

Just as the cats delight in sitting in the sunbeam, let’s delight in the Light of the World – The Lord Jesus Christ through His Word, the Bible.

 

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

John 8:12

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path.”

Psalms 119:105

 

 

Observing Memorial Day

I first posted this in May 2012 but as I read it, I realized it needed to be updated and shared. Perhaps next year, we can make red poppies to wear as a reminder of our fallen.

Kathy

 

I found this interesting article regarding the history of Memorial Day. I wanted to confirm the history of this special day honoring those who have fought and died for our country. What prompted this search? I saw an ad on television (“ugh!”) declaring Memorial Day will be honored with a (get this!) Star Wars marathon. Are they serious?
Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to show movies about real conflicts where real men gave their lives for our country? Lets see, there is Gettysburg (a favorite!) Sergeant York, (WWI movie about a Conscientious Objector who became a hero, to rescue our troops) Friendly Persuasion, Shenandoah, Yankee Doodle Dandy (for those who are not familiar with this oldie but goodie, this is about the composer George M. Cohen who wrote patriotic songs, Over There and It’s a Grand Old Flag…), War Horse,The Fighting Sullivans,(five brothers lost when their ship went down in WWII) and numerous other WWII movies. Movies about the Korean War, Vietnam, and last but not least, the more recent wars of the past twenty years. Many men and women have given the ultimate sacrifice. Many carry physical and invisible scars that only the Lord can heal. So why would one want to waste time watching a series of movies about a fictitious, futuristic war on Memorial Day? If we have nothing better to do than watch a marathon why not be reminded of real heroes?

Please forgive me for ranting about something so trivial as a television ad. I just want to thank all of the heroes who selflessly fought for freedom. So thank you for your sacrifice. We will not forget!

Norman Rockwell Memorial Day

“Two Generations of Vets” by Stevan Dohanos

In the following link, there is a poem that inspired a lovely tradition. Wearing a red poppy (flower) to honor the fallen. Artificial poppies were made, sold and used to help others. That is a lovely tradition.

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Above all, I do not want to forget the Sinless one who gave His life for us!
http://www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html#1\

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

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In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922, the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms. Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

Enjoy footage of our grandfathers and great grandfathers as they marched “Over There!”

http://youtu.be/wbggEGUaE28

http://youtu.be/v1rkzUIL8oc (This scene from Yankee Doodle Dandy is one of my favorites!)

My heart goes out to grieving families of our fallen heroes. Praying for those who are serving today and for their families. Words cannot express our gratitude.

Have a blessed Memorial Day,

Kathy

 

Memorial-Day-MM

 

 

Throw Back Thursday

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A few years ago, I noticed someone had coined the phrase, “Throw Back Thursday” aka TBT on facebook. For a long time, many of us posted a TBT almost every week.

(My first year started mid-year as a fill-in for a K5 teacher who went on maternity leave.) It was such a joy to have a “class of my own.” They were so adorable! In the afternoons, I taught typing, history, and Home Economics. Each picture brought a smile. Such cute little faces!

What truly touched my heart was when I opened the 1980 yearbook. I had forgotten that my fifth-grade-students wrote messages to me. Some made me smile, some made me cry and some of the boys apparently wanted me to get married! “All in God’s time!” I used to say.  One of my favorite paragraphs reads:

Miss Hinchee, You are a very nice teacher and I love you. But sometimes you and nice and sometimes you are mean but I like you anyway. You’re a very nice person. P.S. I am glad I was in your 5th Grade Class.

Music to my ears! There are times when a teacher must be stern in order for the children to learn and to grow.  The words are even more precious because the little girl who wrote this is with the Lord now.

You know, this reminds me of how the Lord teaches us. Sometimes we feel blessed beyond measure when He sends along good things for us but when we go through the trials, we don’t understand why He allows some things in our life but He knows. He understands. He is with us through the trials and helps us grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

One of my typing students also signed my yearbook. He became a facebook friend a few years ago. I didn’t know that he was fighting cancer. The Lord called him home. What a joy this young man was. Serving the Lord as an adult at this same school. He is now with the Lord but I know he made an impression on many people who love the Lord because of him!

My goal in teaching was to show His love that each child would come to know the Lord as their Savior and that they would follow Him. That required me to apply II Timothy 2:15 to my life as well.   What a joy and blessing to teach each child. I am humbled as I look back at the wonderful opportunity the Lord gave to me so long ago!

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

The Vision of a Mother’s Heart – Honoring Mama

Just a sample chapter from my novel, The Vision of a Mother’s Heart. The first book in the Isabel’s Story series that I am working on. Isabel’s brothers had surprised Papa by polishing and shining all of the shoes and boots without being told. Ten-year-old Isabel decided she wanted to do something to honor “Mama”. How did you honor or surprise your parents when you were growing up?

Katherine H. Purdy

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Honoring Mama

(Sample chapter from The Vision of a Mother’s Heart)

Isabel gazed at the star from her bedroom window and
wondered what she could do to honor Mama and Papa. The
answer came to her as she closed her eyes to sleep. “I will get
up before Mama and go blueberry picking to fix blueberry
pancakes for breakfast.” Isabel whispered, “Boy, will Mama
and Papa be surprised.” But what if I oversleep and don’t get up
before Mama?”

Isabel counted every hour, according to the coo-coo clock in
the front parlor. “Oh, be quiet you kooky bird,” Isabel whispered.
“Wow, 3:00 A.M., and I still haven’t been to sleep yet.” Her eyes
finally closed, and she gave into sleep.
The rooster sounded the alarm outside of Isabel’s window
just before sunrise, and she jumped into her clothes, pulled the
covers over her pillow, and then tiptoed downstairs and toward

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Happy Mother’s Day. Characteristics of a Virtuious Woman.

I have posted this before but in honor of Mother’s Day, I am reposting it today for all Mothers and Mothers at heart.

Katherine H. Purdy

Katherine Hinchee Purdy

Flourish Simple

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“Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.”

Proverbs 31:25

Characteristics of the Virtuous Woman

“Her Price is far above rubies.”

Proverbs 31

  • She is Dependable (verses 11-12)
  • She is Delightful; Cheerful, (verse 13)
    • Gracious, Thankful 
      • “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” (Colossians 3:17)
  • She is Diligent (verses 14-21)
    • Budget Money (verses 14, 16)
    • Budget Time (verses 15, 17-19)
    • Interest in Others (verses 20-21)
  • “A Doer” (verses 22-23)
    • She is moderate in everything.
      • “Let your moderation (Gentleness) be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” (Philippians 3:5)
  • Disposition (verses 25-31)
    • Strength
    • Honor
    • She thinks before she speaks (verse 26)
    • Industrious/Not Lazy 
    • Bearing Testimony at all times. (Titus 2)

The original outline was given by Mrs. Delores Fulton at Piedmont…

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Mothers Day Gifts by the Renegade Seamstress.

I love these ideas and thought you might too!

The delight of creating and choosing joy no matter what. My mom in a nutshell. It is in her honor that I bring these projects ideas to you today, hoping that her legacy will live on through me and through you. Cheers to projects that bring you and the others around you joy. Casserole Carrier […]

via 15 Handmade Gift Ideas For Mother’s Day That She Will Love — The Renegade Seamstress

Singing on the Porch After the Dishes are Done. Katherine Purdy

 

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The dishes finally washed and the last plate put away;

Many choruses are sung as we cleaned the kitchen that day.

One after another, chorus followed chorus,

We were just warming up for singing on the porch.

 

As we walked through the kitchen into the living room,

I stopped at my piano to pick up Great Hymns of the Faith.

We sat on the swing together; singing all the while;

Wonderful hymns of Jesus redemption and His worthiness.

 

Crown Him with Many Crowns, O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing,

One Day He’s Coming, oh, glorious day; to Stand Up for Jesus,

Face to Face and Saved by Grace; and every song between.

I miss those days with Mama; when we sat on the porch to sing!

Katherine H. Purdy

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Happy Birthday, Mom!

Dad, Mom, Melissa and Kathy 1966 (3) (2014_05_11 03_43_51 UTC)

Mom is 82 years old today. It is hard to imagine her at that age. She still sounds the same and if she still had her sight, I am sure she would be very active and making every occasion special. Sadly, I wasn’t able to go to Roanoke this weekend or today to see her. Her birthday visit will be a week late. This is her first birthday to celebrate without Dad. My sister who is taking care of her now is having a dinner for Mom. I’m sure the table will be filled with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I would love to be there to give her a big hug and sing through the hymnal with her on the porch swing. Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you.

She always made birthdays special for us. Even as adults, she would show up on our birthday with a cake and gifts or my favorite – gift baskets! Yet, she always downplayed her own special day; telling us, “I don’t need anything.”

~*~

Birthdays. Every family celebrates them differently.

In my family, birthdays were a big event. Extended family members came over for dinner and of course, a beautifully decorated homemade cake of the birthday child’s choosing.

Mine was always white cake, seven-minute frosting with coconut sprinkled on it like snow; graced with a candy “Happy Birthday” along with birthday candles. They were very popular when I was a child.

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Betty Crocker Vintage Birthday Cake Decorations found on Pinterest.

Of course, I always wanted the pink one with little flowers for the candles.

It is usually Mothers who make birthdays special. She bakes the cake, makes sure the freezer is stocked with ice cream, cooks the meal, buys and wraps the gift. My Mom loved making birthdays special. She was the best at wrapping gifts. They were always too pretty to unwrap!

It was Dad Hinchee who took snapshots and taped the special occasion with his Super-eight movie camera. I have a DVD with several years of birthdays and other special moments. unfortunately, he often panned the room too fast and some scenes are just a blur. My baby sister’s first birthday was great! Dinner in our backyard with family and after dinner, cake and gifts were opened, we all went to the Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke, Va. I especially remember the gorgeous peacocks. Such a pretty blue! Needless to say, was a memorable event.

This is Mom.

 

 

I would love to give her a special birthday party. I have tried twice to at least take dinner and her gifts but she is hesitant to let anyone come over. She claims the house is dirty and she has nothing to wear. You see, she has always wanted everything to be “perfect.”

We gave her a party on her seventy-fifth birthday. Her sister and brother-in-law came from Richmond. Our Hinchee relatives came to make the day special too.

Mom's 75th Birthday

We had a beautiful cake made by Ashley Schnarr Easter, fresh fruit, finger sandwiches and I actually discovered blooms on the lilac tree! She received wonderful gifts and cards that played music!

 

She was amazed that everyone came and loved having my Aunt and Uncle spend the night with them. She let me know later that she doesn’t want to remember that she is “getting older.” We have gifts for her and I still hope we will be able to take dinner to Mom and Dad.

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There is one gift I can’t wait to give her. She can’t see it but that’s okay. I found on Etsy the fragrance she used to wear when I was a small child. Persian Wood isn’t available in perfume but I found the original Avon Persian Wood Perfumed Talc. I am sure it has lost its fragrance over time but hopefully, there is enough of the fragrance to bring back wonderful memories and just for a moment, she will feel “young” again.

 

 

 

 

Perhaps we will sit on the porch swing and sing Hymns of the Faith just as we used to.

Happy Birthday, Mom. We love you!

Little Things That Mean So Much

 

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Compassion can take many forms we often overlook. Sometimes it’s the “little things” that are often overlooked in our day to day activities. I was reminded yesterday of an act of compassion my late stepfather brought to my life.

Yesterday, I awoke with a sore throat to go with the cold that doesn’t want to go away.  John had to go to Church alone – again! He stopped at Hardees and bought lunch which was such a blessing. I don’t think I could have stood long enough to prepare sandwiches.

John at the Liberty Station in Bedford, Va

That’s my guy!

After lunch, he went to the grocery store for cold pills and brought home a box of popsicles. A kindness or act of compassion which began with my stepfather.  I was seven-years-old when Mom married Jerry and we became a family.  That first year, I had chronic ear infections and tonsillitis resulting in having surgery over Christmas break from school.

The first time I had a sore throat, Dad Hinchee went to the store and bought a bag of banana popsicles, which were my favorite. I still remember how the cool treat felt as it slid down my throat giving relief and enjoyment. From that time on, if he heard me say that my throat hurt, he would disappear for a few minutes and return with that cool treat. Even when I was home from college. He even continued the tradition for many years until I married and moved away.

Dad Hinchee went home to be with the Lord in November. He is where there is no more sorrow, no more pain and no more popsicles for this kid’s sore throat. But my husband remembered. What a sweet reminder that God never forgets!

Tomorrow, April 10th would have been Mom and Jerry’s 54th Anniversary. I know it will be sad for her. I want to be there for her but am afraid that she will catch my cold. I am praying that some small act of kindness will comfort her.  I love you, Mom!

Easter 1964

Easter, 1964. Our first Easter as a family.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

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Mom and Dad Hinchee several years ago. I always think of them just like this!