It's the best time of year in my eyes and to hurry into the season we drove out to the mountains to find fall just a bit sooner than we would at home. I've always wanted to see the aspen trees in all their golden glory. We were a week or so early for full blown color but still left satisfied from a week of cool, crisp days, chilly nights, a snowfall up in the upper most part of the mountains, brisk hikes, meals al fresco and beautiful fall colors.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” ~ John Muir
Today is my oldest daughter, Megan's, 30th Birthday! Wow, how can that be? Seems like just yesterday I was rocking her to sleep in her cradle, playing tea party with her and helping her with homework (probably not algebra). But yet a lot has happened in 30 years and today she is halfway to rocking her own daughter. Emily and I threw a surprise party for her along with her husband's help last Friday night and believe it or not she was truly surprised! We aren't always so good at keeping surprises.
Meg, I hope that your daughter brings you all the joy and love and pride that you have brought to us! Cheers to a memorable year ahead!
We, the cousins, usually called her "Grams" and today was her birthday. Born Bernice Spires in the small country town of Franklin, Illinois she married her high school sweetheart, Wayne, and they started a family in Franklin. Bernice & Wayne had 4 little girls and then finally a son. Sadly, their oldest daughter Joan, died of leukemia days after their son was born. As a mother now I cannot imagine what a difficult, emotional time that had to have been. Yet what I remember most of my grandma is her laughter, loud frequent laughter, and what I cannot remember is a time that I saw my grandma with a frown. Going to her home and meeting up with all my cousins was a highlight of my childhood. What a houseful of fun and laughter! All Christmases were spent there and cousins would be sleeping under the dining room table or anywhere they decided to unroll their sleeping bag. There were late nights playing card games when I struggled to stay up as late as grams. There was always an array of goodies made by her - caramel corn, fudge, divinity, cookies....yes, we all had sweet tooths. I still love to picture their home - a white, shuttered 2 story home with a huge yard. There was a grape arbor out back with a white picnic table sheltered underneath. Grams would make grape juice and there was an unsuccessful venture at wine from what I remember. There was a fish pond and grampa's big garden and then beyond a hedge was more yard where fruit trees grew. At night I was lulled to sleep by the sound of trains passing through; who doesn't love that sound? Next door was the town funeral parlor, the source of many scary stories we made up as little kids!
Inside it always seemed warm and cozy and full of smells I can still sense. The kitchen was always crowded and downstairs was damp smelling with shelves lined with jars that she had canned. Upstairs Grams had a beautiful dressing table with a big oval mirror. I loved to sit at it and look at the jewelry tucked in each drawer. There were chenille bedspreads on the beds and views out the windows framed by large trees. When I was very young Grams drove an old car named Chuggy and she was a secretary at the high school but her first love was crochet. If you could dream it, she could crochet it! She was very talented in anything crafty and back in the day was proud to have sold orders to Marshall Fields in Chicago. She had an entire closet dedicated to craft supplies and once I grew out of my first obsession with her old typewriter, I became enthralled with that closet. There were buttons galore and yarn and sequins -you name it! I am proud to share that love of creating something from your hands and I know that was passed from her to me and many of her grandchildren. She loved traveling and she loved having everyone together. Once my mom passed away 14 years ago she had seen 2 of her children go before her. What a lesson in strength and positive thinking she was for me. I don't think I ever heard her complain. She lived a long, full life and taught us all the gift of laughter. Although the aunts and cousins are spread miles apart we still manage to reunite every few years to reminisce about visits to Grams, gathering around the Christmas tree or playing in the huge yard that surrounded their home. Happy Birthday Grams! You would be happy to know your famous sugar cookies are still being baked in all of our kitchens today~