Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Date Nights & Freedom

Kids can be quite, let’s say, imaginative.   

I look back on the many things that my siblings and I would come up with, all for simple entertainment purposes only. 

My brothers and I grew up in a little pack, literally.  There were five of us in the span of five and half years. One girl, then four boys in a row! (another girl & boy later)

Yes, BIG kudos to our mom, indeed!

 I don’t think you can get any closer to having quints than that! 
Our minds were working congruently at all times...but mostly, to simply get a laugh. Always a laugh, that just seemed to be the ultimate goal, and crazy enough, still is to this day.  

One of our favorite times to put the good old sibling creativity to the very finest use was mom and dad’s date night. I can feel the tickle in my gut now ha ha.  

In our young tender years, it was at the expense of the poor soul who ended up being our babysitter for the evening.  (If you happen to be our former babysitter, may I extend my deepest apologies and probably condolences, too.)   We were crazy...but it was a fun crazy, at least to us, we felt so happy!  Maybe that’s just how you feel when you’re in a little posse of comrades. 

We officially stepped up to the big leagues when we advanced from having a babysitter to becoming the babysitter.  Oh what bliss, the incredible sense of freedom was felt by all.

 I was assigned to be “in charge”, a title that I quite enjoyed, for what is was worth. 
 We didn’t have TV, at least one that had reception, so we were left with no recourse, we had to create our own fun. 

After saying our goodbye’s to mom and dad, assuring them that we would keep all the rules, we would start out with a homemade sugary treat, usually a cookie of some type, or if we felt like it, just the dough.

 It was all part of feeling independent and free, making our own gooey delights, and best of all, without having an adult tell us we couldn't eat cookie dough, cake batter, or anything else for that matter. We were truly free!

Next, on our independence agenda, would be coming up with something funny that would make us all laugh.  
We pranked called friends and strangers, what kid doesn't do that. 

Our brother David was exceptionally good at this, of all of us, he by far, had the most guts. I’m sure it helped that we gave him plenty of support and loving encouragement as we gathered around him. Which, in turn, gave us constant, deep, gut-busting laughter. 

 One date night, we discovered that hitting the old hang up hook quickly, would suddenly put us right in the middle of someone else's conversation. 

We could easily overhear the juicy details between the two parties.  Not certain whether or not they could hear us, we huddled around the receiver trying to be quiet as possible.

 Suddenly, Dave blurted out all his thoughts about their conversation and what he thought the solution was.  It took us by surprise just as much as it did the two older ladies, who were not happy that they had been overheard. 

 I kind of got the feeling that maybe what we were hearing really was something juicy, but we were just too young to get it. 

 They demanded to know who he was and who his mother was! Who his mother was? Now that was getting to close for comfort, (even though Dave could have kept going) we quickly hung up!  

Afterwards, we ran down the highlights, each of us adding our personal fav comments, as well as, what we should of or might of said.  It was almost like we lived and grew up in Mayberry. Life was good...real good! 

Another fabulous date night of mom and dad’s, was particularly memorable for me.  I saw something in my brother David that I considered to be AMAZING even OUTSTANDING! 

We had gathered around mom and dad’s stereo and were flipping through all the stations, we were cool, and listening to the stereo loudly, proved it to be true. 

We couldn’t find much on FM so we had to go to the AM stations...not so cool.  We came across a local station that was broadcasting not far from where we lived.  It was called the Jesus Saves station.  

They were broadcasting live and taking live calls.  We were hearing a lot of different stories from callers that had taken various paths in life.  

The commentators kept announcing the phone number along with the invitation to call in.  We joked about what if we called...what would we say...how funny it would be...but of course, we weren’t serious.  

Suddenly, Dave yells up from the downstairs and tells us to be quiet, he is calling the radio station right now!  We all looked at each other with wide eyes and big fat smiles on our faces. Oh my heck!  What is he going to say?  The anticipation was so exciting and intense.

 In no time, we heard our brother on the stereo, disguising his voice and going by the name of Joe.  We were trying  desperately to control and quiet our laughter. He went on and on with not a single glitch, it was like he had a script only he didn't. 

He told his whole life story that had every possible dramatic element you could imagine. 
From parents that beat him, to really loving whiskey, living on the streets, trying hard to change his life, and everything in between. It lasted, what felt like, forever! 

 The radio hosts were so kind and genuine to him. Joe was the man alright, a ten year old boy!  Who didn’t break a laugh, (even though he must have overheard his siblings stifled snickers) nope, he didn’t even have a slight pause.  Wow, Dave was truly my hero! How and where did he come up with...all those amazing words? 

Mom and dad’s date nights were epic to us!  We loved every minute of our priceless freedom, to be just us kids!

That’s just one of many spontaneous, imaginative, and entertaining moments that our brother Dave has given us and continues to do so, hopefully always!  Life would be far to boring without his contagious wit along with the highly humorous synergy we all create together! 

Now that we are all grown up and we go out for a date night, do you ever wonder what your kids are doing...really?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Is that a skunk?"

The desire to raise our young children in a rural atmosphere was what brought us to Huntsville Utah 43 years ago. Dad Clawson grew up there and wanted his kids to have the same experience. At first I felt like we were in “Timbuktu” because it was ‘a long distance phone call’ to all my family and friends, actually it was only 20 minutes from Ogden on the other side of the mountain. I adjusted well however and the kids loved it.

One warm summer day while taking the trash out I noticed a large animal with it’s head under a shrub.  I was a bit concerned because it wasn’t frightened off by the noise I was making....What is this animal and why is it not running away I thought. Slowly I walked toward it expecting it to bolt any minute..but it didn’t move.  It’s body was black, quite large, too large to be a cat I thought, but it’s fur didn’t look like a dogs fur either.  I gently prodded it a with a stick to see if it would move.  Still no movement but it  made a low muffled growling sound. “What the heck”?  After a second I decided it must be a skunk!  I had never seen a skunk in my life so I thought their may be several varieties of skunks, maybe some skunks don’t have white stripes?  I wanted to be cautious so I ran into the house to look up “skunks” in the encyclopedia.  I found out ALL skunks have white stripes and this skunk didn’t have one.  I went back outside and got the courage to lift up the shrub to see what it’s head looked like.  To my shock and horror I didn’t see a head.....I saw a large Hershey’s Cocoa can with a body attached to it! 

 While I was in this dilemma I remembered a few days earlier when I drained the fat from some ground beef into an empty cocoa can then tossed it in the trash! 
I decided a huge black Tom Cat must have smelled the fat and crammed his head down inside so tightly that it was suffocating! 

 My motherly instincts came out and all I could think of was to save that cat.  I tugged and tugged but it wouldn’t budge. Finally I lifted up that heavy fat cat in between my knees so I could use both hands to twist the can off...no luck!  I thought well at least I can give it some air. I ran to get an old V shaped pop can opener and prayed I wouldn’t pop out an eyeball  but before I could get the second hole punched that cat took off like a bat out of you know where.   Only problem is
it couldn't see where it was going so it zigzagged back and forth knocking into fences and other things as it ran out of sight.  The kids were watching the whole thing and got the biggest kick..they laughed and laughed.  The cat was still among the living but it wouldn’t be dining out anytime soon.
Several weeks went by and no sign of kitty until one day the kid’s came running in screaming “the cat with the cocoa can is back!!   It looked a lot skinnier by then so Dad Clawson took compassion and with the ‘no food or drink’ self imposed diet it had been on, the can came off...but it scratched the heck out of him.  He wasn’t happy!

Moral of the story:   Don’t take that attractive bait...it’s a trap...you’ll be blinded and won’t recognize the important things in life like the propercare and nourishment of body and spirit.

Friday, May 23, 2014

“Wait. What did you just say?”

“I’m Lesbian…See you soon”

No this isn’t another lame attempt at publicizing a ‘coming out’….instead, those were the exact words a friend of mine texted me a few weeks ago as I was headed to meet him for an early morning run. Another text quickly followed…

“Stupid auto correct…I’m Leaving not lesbian” 

I won’t say what I texted back to him but it was hilarious (or at least I thought so)…if you’re really curious, go ahead and contact the NSA for all the details. 

The thought occurred to me that in this modern day of so many ways to communicate
keep in touch, stay informed, follow the latest trends, share opinions, be heard,
join the conversation, stand out, gain followers, get ‘likes’, promote your agenda or just waste a lot time…. We still get things wrong. All of us. Intentionally or unintentionally. 

We quote inaccurate facts, share so-called ‘true’ stories and gossip, make inferences based on others communications, misuse words, fail to proofread texts, emails, tweets, posts. And we’ve all had the frustration of having our computer or phone try and ‘correct’ words we’re trying to use…. all leading to miscommunication while trying to communicate.  

Not trying to wax all philosophical on you, but its interesting how just one word can quickly change the meaning of something. I wanted to post some of my personal favorite experiences of misused words.

College Promiscuity
In college I worked on the student newspaper with a super nice girl named Debra who was also involved in student government. She was very kind, professional and well mannered. We were good friends but that was it. One day she called me on the phone and very nervously said… “I don’t mean to be promiscuous…but will you go to the dance with me next Saturday?” 

Wait. What? Promiscuous? Wow! 

Did I mention she was nervous? She was so nervous I don’t think she even realized what she had said…(or did she?)

“Presumptuous. I think you meant presumptuous.” I said.

We did go to the dance and had a great time. And just for the record nothing promiscuous happened. I did rip the seat of my tuxedo (that the school had rented for me) while helping prepare for the dance. But it was just an accident…or was it? 
That’s also how I first met my future mother-in-law, but that’s another story.

Flatulent Competition
A few years ago a coworker came into my office. Lamenting over the tendency for corporate tight-wadded-ness despite company profitability, he said “We probably won’t even get a pay raise to keep up with flatulation…” 

What? Did he just say flatulation? Like flatulence? Like…. 
There’ll be no keeping up with that in my office thank you very much!

I busted up laughing and said, “You mean inflation?”  To be fair he’s a native Spanish speaker but I laughed regardless. Who wants to worry about keeping up with flatulation? Not me. 

Loose Grandmas
And lastly my personal favorite…It was my Mom’s birthday and we were heading to my parents home to hangout with the fam and celebrate. I asked the kids if they wanted to make a b-day card for Grandma. They each went to work. My youngest son drew the cutest picture of himself on a big trampoline (since we don’t have one and it’s a huge source of fun at Grandmas). He asked me how to spell ‘trampoline’ but one of his siblings helped him with the word. He was so excited to give my mom the card he’d done for her. I didn’t read the card 'til right before we gave it to my mom. In bold crayon written letters on the front it said, “Happy Birthday Tramp” Everyone laughed and loved it!

Do we really mean what we say?  And does what we say mean what we think it means? 
Choose your words wisely kids or auto-correct (or someone else) will do it for you. 

That’s it for today. I’m lesbian now...I meant 'leaving' now.

Monday, May 19, 2014

"Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills" - Napoleon Dynamite

My son shared a Bruce Lee video on Facebook the other day that was incredible.  In addition other signature martial-arts moves, it showed Bruce playing ping pong with nanchaku (nanchucks)...even keeping up against two opponents at one time!  It's pretty amazing footage...take a look:

Have you every tried swinging nanchucks around?  I did when I was a teenager.  After cracking myself in the head, the back and other various and sundry places, I retired from the sport immediately (sorry ladies, no great skills).  To see someone swing those with such control and finesse was more than impressive. 

I was so impressed that I made the mistake of looking into the Ping-Pong video further.  What a let-down...IT'S FAKE!  Turns out it wasn't Bruce Lee at all, rather a look-alike and some nifty special effects to make it appear that it was old footage of Bruce Lee playing Ping-Pong with nanchaku!  It was made for Nokia to promote a line of Bruce Lee cell-phones.

The moral of the story is....you can't trust anything on the internet.  New video can be made to look old and grainy.  Special effects and editing can make things seem real when in fact they are not.  Maybe this post isn't real...maybe I'm just saying that footage isn't real in an attempt to make you think it's fake, when in fact it might be that my post that isn't really the real deal, which would mean the Brue Lee video really is real, making my post just another attempt to make the real seem unreal or vice versa.

I'm sorry to say that we can no longer trust the internet to tell the truth! (shocker)  There's nothing to do but go back to 'rushing around in hopeless circles, searching everywhere for something true'. 

That's right, I'm still at the age of not believing.

(I am pretty good with a Bow Staff...thank goodness)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

I Can Hear You. I Can Hear You.

Yesterday my wife and I participated in a local marathon. She did the half. I did the whole. The weather was perfect...almost a little too warm...but perfect overall.  There seemed to be twice as many participants as in the past. It had to be a record number of people attending because the event was packed. I think over 2500 marathoners and almost 4000 half marathoners not to mention the 5k and kids run.

Not my best marathon time but a fun morning regardless.

My least favorite part of the whole running thing? The bathrooms. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they have them, but they usually get pretty nasty. The lines are always long and they definitely get used and I don't mean gently. But there isn't a time that I don't step into one where I'm not reminded of my older sister.

Years ago when my sister lived in Big Fork, MT, we went up for a visit and decided to go into Glacier National Park. At one point, we all stopped for a bathroom break and all they had were the temporary blue outhouses.

The plastic potties are usually packed close together and they're not known for their great acoustics. Teasing my sister as we stepped into two that were side by side I said "I can hear you...I can hear you..." We both laughed. I did my thing and was out of there in seconds and another guy walked in right after me. Apparently my sister did not hear me step out and carried on with the 'potty humor' and 'I can hear you' teasing while a total stranger was doing his thing.  The look on her face was priceless when she stepped out and saw me off talking with the rest of the family and realized she'd been talking to someone else most of the time.

For some reason she wanted to get out of there very quickly. I still tease her to this day.

The moral of this story?
Your mom was right.....Don't talk to strangers....Ever....Especially in adjoining toilet stalls...even if you think one is a family member.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Stop. Take a moment, and appreciate the amazing!

The pace of life on our tiny planet seems to quicken every day. New technologies are constantly being developed that dramatically change our lives, sometimes for the worse, mostly for the better (I hope)! I read an article the other day about new 'spinal cord stimulation' technology that is helping paralyzed people move their limbs again. That sounds pretty amazing to me! What a miracle that will be when they perfect it.

It's incredible the conveniences we have right at our fingertips.  I was sitting on the couch last night and felt a buzz in my pocket. I pulled out my phone and noticed a new text message. I replied to the message with very little effort. Later, I checked my email, browsed Facebook, transferred some money, read a blog post, then pulled up my security camera feed to see if the noise I heard outside was my son pulling into the driveway. All this from my couch...in a few minutes...with a device that fits nicely in my pocket. It gets better! I can also use that device to take high-quality digital photos (and video), edit the photos, and send them instantly across the world through any number of mediums. I can read and watch the news from thousands of sources. I can control my TV using the phone as the remote. I can stream music throughout my house, play any number of video games, write an article and post it to a blog. I can use it as a flashlight, to let the NSA know where I am and what I'm doing at all times, and to look up detailed repair instructions when the car breaks down. I can read any book I choose, watch TV shows, movies or YouTube videos on demand. I can purchase clothing, food, tools or other items, or use it as a magnifying glass.  All this and so much more...from about any location I may be in (including the bathroom)!
To top it off,  I can also use my phone to make...TELEPHONE CALLS! Yes, I can talk to people all over the world instantly, even video chat with them.  Is this not just flat out amazing?  I think it's incredible!

I took a moment a tried to comprehend how amazing this one little device was.  It got me thinking about how ungrateful I am at times, in spite of all the good things I have. The text I received was about a flight cancellation. What a darn inconvenience! What possible excuse could the airline have for such an outrage?!  It made me think of a segment from The Conan O'Brien Show I saw a few years ago that perfectly illustrated how amazing our lives are, and how quick we forget it...because we're ungrateful and impatient. Take a look, it's pretty good!

Slow down every now and then and be grateful for what you have.  You live in amazing times! Smart phones are pretty cool, but are they really the greatest invention? I don't think so. If you had to choose between a smart phone or toilet paper, what would it be? Choose wisely my friends!
I've made my choice

Monday, May 12, 2014

Welcome Monday!

Another Monday, and here I sit talking to myself again.  I'm feeling kind of old, and nothing really seems to fit anymore (especially my clothes)!  I'm existing...just hanging around, and there's little else to do but frown.  Maybe I have the blues?  I don't know.  Nothing's really wrong...though I feel like I don't belong.  I'd go out and walk around, but I'm afraid that people might think I'm some kind of lonely clown.  Mondays are just a bummer for me...they really get me down.

It's funny...but I always wind up here with you (my computer).  I guess it's nice to know somebody loves me (even if it's my computer).  I suppose the only thing to do is run and find the one who loves me...but a computer?  Yeah, whatever!

I realize that what I'm feeling has come and gone before, so today is nothing special.  And no...I don't need to talk it out, I'm sure everyone knows what this is all about.  So I'll just hang around and frown, because Mondays (and rainy days)...they always get me down.

I just had a great idea!  I could write a fantastic song about how I'm feeling today! 

Wait...some guy named Paul Williams already did and Karen Carpenter already sang it.  Another opportunity missed!  Now I'm feeling even more down (sigh...).

Have a great Monday everyone!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Don't Look Over There!"

Awww Spring. Don’t you just love this time of year? I do. The snow starts melting, the leaves come out, everything’s blooming, the rivers and lakes refill and you know that the warm days of summer are on their way.

For as long as I can remember, our family vacation spot each year has been Bear Lake. For 5 fun filled days or so in the summer we’d camp up a canyon in the pines on the Idaho side of the lake and drive to the North beach everyday. It was always the highlight of the summer because usually it was the only official summer vacation we had. Yes it’s true kiddies, one summer vacation. There were, occasionally, a few summers where we’d get a bonus vacation. And that’s when we first went to Smith & Morehouse. 

I’ll be honest, my Dad has never been much of a camper so my mom loaded all us kids in the car and headed out for a few days of camping fun while my dad had to stay behind to ‘work’. As every parent knows, there are trips and there are vacations. As a parent, a ‘family vacation’ is usually a working trip because you’re still doing all the care, home set-up, cooking and clean-up – just without the modern conveniences – plus you have all the prep and packing and unpacking. A vacation is where you don’t have a care in the world, no one to answer to, you can do as you please without a single interruption. You can wake up early, you can sleep in, you can have peace and quiet, you can relax, you can walk around in your underwear if you want....looking back, I think my Dad was the one on vacation. My Mom was on the family trip.

My maternal grandparents were already camping at Smith & Morehouse. And as it says on the Reserve America website “Smith and Morehouse Campground is located a very short distance from Smith and Morehouse Reservoir on the western edge of the Uinta Mountains” but I already knew that. You get the picture though. Its a small isolated campground just beneath a dam surrounded by pines and fresh mountain air. A place to just chill and let it all hang out. The campground was roughly an hour and a half from our home. We left the next morning. 

I’m sure we were so hyped-up on the anticipation of fun with cousins (and probably an unhealthy dose of sugar from homemade treats) that I honestly don’t know how my mom did it with all the kids. I wondered what fun new adventures awaited us at Smith & Morehouse? As an adult, hours can seem like seconds but as a kid, hours seem like years. Finally we saw a familiar forest service sign that said Smith & Morehouse and we knew we were close to our destination. As we rounded the turns in the campground we were intently looking for the familiar trailer or truck or faces of my grandparents and relatives so we’d know where we’d call ‘home’ for the next few days. 

It was the middle of the week and the campground was uncrowded and quiet. We watched as chipmunks scampered across the road and listened to the familiar sounds of squirrels and birds chirping in the trees as we made our way. It was a gorgeous day. Would we see deer or skunks or moose or any other wildlife? This was going to be awesome.  Suddenly my mom slowed the car and shrieked in pure horror “Don’t look over there!” as she pointed over to my right. Being the obedient son that I am, I immediately looked to the camp spot on my right, exactly where my mom was pointing so I would know exactly where I shouldn’t look in the future. There, sitting on a picnic table, was a man and woman kissing....both were buck naked.

“Wow! Don’t look over there!” I parroted my mom pointing in the same direction as to warn my younger siblings. The whole time keeping my eyes focused on where we shouldn’t look as my mom increased her speed and rounded the corner. Funnily enough, we reached the campsite where my grandparents were very quickly and immediately had to share the scandalous news with everyone. We even had to jump on the motorcycle or 3-wheelers to take cousins down the road and show them where they shouldn’t ever look - just so they would be prepared.

We tease my Mom about that incident to this day. She always says that if she hadn’t been so shocked she would have pointed out the left side of the car and said..”Hey kids look at that pretty bird over there” or something like that, til we passed. But she didn’t. 

Now that I am older, I just have one question – who was the unfortunate family who unknowingly ate their bologna sandwiches on the certain picnic table the next day?

I was reminded of the old Smith & Morehouse event just this week as I read in the news (on KSL.com look it up) of a couple that was arrested for lewd behavior and public intoxication on the lawn of a catholic church during a wedding no less...the man was 65 and she was late 50-something...eeww! So disturbing!

.....But I did have another question come to mind...Had they ever been to Smith & Morehouse? .......Please....Don’t look over there!!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

What to keep, what to throw away.

It's Spring...time for some spring cleaning! The 'sibs' and I spent some time over the weekend helping our parents do a little spring cleaning. The biggest project was sorting and re-stacking a massive pile of firewood they accumulated over the past 30+ years.
(Ok, that's not really the wood we stacked...but it felt like it!) 
We also hauled away some scrap metal, an old snowmobile, a snow blower with a bad engine, and a few other select items. Throughout the day, my parents held 'delicate negotiations' over what should be kept and what should be recycled. Naturally they didn't always agree, but overall it was a very productive day. It really got me thinking about the stuff I've been keeping year after year. What have I been packing around that I really should get rid of?

We spend a lifetime accumulating things, most for legitimate needs, sometimes for no good reason at all. It would be foolish (and impossible) to keep every single thing we collect in life, so how does one decide what to keep, and what to let go? It’s one of life’s most vexing questions. If you discard things too quickly, you may end up buying them again, but if you keep everything you accumulate, you’ll end up on a reality television show (not the best way to become famous)! We all know someone who hoards, and for some of us that person is us! Have you had stuff in storage so long you’ve forgotten what you have? Have you saved something for a long time and don’t know why? The fact is, sooner or later someone will have to deal with the things you accumulate, because we never seem to last as long as our stuff does! So... get rid of some stuff!

In deciding what to get rid of, keep in mind that situations are different, so you can’t apply the same storage rules to everyone. For example, farmers have a good reason to save old farm equipment, they may eventually need it for parts repairs. But you? You're not a farmer. You don't need that old swather in your back yard! You would be silly to throw out items that have a clear use in the near future. Unless you have unlimited resources, you don't toss out your winter clothing every spring, or your summer clothing at the first hint of cold weather. So what is the right balance? Just ask yourself this question: How much crap do I want to leave for my heirs to sort through? Note: By crap I don’t mean land, cattle, homes, gold, stocks, cash and priceless antiques...heirs really like that stuff and are more than happy to sort through it! 

There's a real feeling of cleansing and accomplishment when you unload useless baggage you've been carrying around for a long time (no, I'm not waxing all religious on you..but it applies just the same!). Sometimes less really is more. Less stuff equals less to worry about, less to store, less to repair and maintain. Less gives you more time to think about the things you don't have yet! How does your family room look on Christmas morning? Mine looks like a disaster area. I think how clean and organized it would be if everyone received only one gift instead of a truckload. If I just ruined Christmas for you...sorry, but what if you had to leave your home quickly the day after Christmas, taking only what you could carry on your back. How many of those gifts would be left behind? Humbug..probably most of them.

I'm not trying to rain on your parade. Do what you want, it's a free country, but know this: If you decrease the amount of stuff you keep for no good reason, all of your wildest hopes and dreams will certainly come true! Who doesn't want that?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Now that doesn't taste spoiled...does it?

All the kids surrounding Grandma Clawson
Growing up in a small town is great.  If you can grow up in a small town with grandparents nearby, even better! When I was 4, my family moved to my father's hometown of Huntsville, Utah. Huntsville is located in a beautiful mountain valley just East of Ogden, Utah, near Pineview reservoir. It was an amazing place for a kid to grow up. Now that I'm raising children of my own, I realize how lucky I was to grow up in 'the valley' close to my grandmother. 

I never knew my grandfather. He passed away before I was born. For me, grandma was always a widow, lived alone, and more importantly... was always home. She lived a few blocks away from our home, and directly across from our elementary  school. My siblings and I (there were 7 of us total) stopped by almost every day after school to have a snack while watching The Brady Bunch or Gilligan's Island, until the phone rang. The ringing phone meant mom wanted us to head home for piano practice, chores and dinner. I'm sure mom knew if she didn't make the call quick enough, we wouldn't be hungry for her dinner!
An idyllic growing up in Huntsville.  Lucky kids!

Grandma loved to feed us. We couldn't walk in her door with her asking if we were 'hungry' or 'wanted something to eat'. We ate Sunday dinners at grandma's fairly often. She made the most delicious whole-wheat rolls with home-made raspberry jam. The rolls were plain, very dense (as close to unleavened as you could get) with very little if any salt or other flavors. The jam was crushed up raspberries with a tiny bit of sugar. Really yummy!  Grandma raised sheep on her farm so we always had leg of lamb, lamb chops, lamb roast, lamb liver and just about any other part of a lamb you can think of. One time she made lamb sandwiches, and mine seemed a little tough, so I pulled the bread apart to look inside. To my astonishment the meat had large holes in it! I said, 'Grandma...my lamb has holes in it” and she replied “That's because it's the heart”. I got worried about it for a moment or two... but I ate it anyway! To this day I can't eat lamb without thinking about her.

She had a funny question she would ask every time we had dinner with her. As we were eating, she would walk in from the kitchen and ask “Now that doesn't taste spoiled...does it?” Honestly, I never thought about how funny this question was until later in life. Can you imagine a server at a restaurant asking the same thing about the food you just started eating? You would immediately think there must be something wrong with it, that it was old or possibly rotten, that maybe they weren't really sure they should have served it!  I never had those thoughts when grandma asked the question. It was just something she always asked after we started eating. Maybe she was trying to remind us to thank her for dinner, or was fishing for a compliment.   She did live through the great depression, perhaps the question came from lean times and questionable food from her past!  I don't think she knew why she asked it, but I'm glad we never made a big deal of it. If she had stopped asking that question, we wouldn't have a fun tradition of asking the same question to each-other as we eat during our family gatherings! We laugh about it, and it brings back great memories of Huntsville and Sunday dinner at grandma's house.

Now that doesn't taste spoiled, does it?