Last night, my husband fixed a wonderful dinner of gazpacho soup with shrimp, a green leafy salad and crusty bread. While he, my crazy mother and I sat talking the conversation somehow turned to snakes. Here is another story about my Mom that must be preserved.

We were living in Mountain Home, Idaho. My father was stationed there at the newly reopened Air Force base. The base was out in the country and not too many people had been assigned to the base yet, so they were a really small community.

Mom had to go down some steps to the outside to her washing machine. (It was an old ringer washing machine). One day, when Dad was gone on a mission somewhere, she went outside to do the laundry and when she opened the lid, she found a large rattle snake curled up inside the the washer. She slammed the lid back down and ran upstairs to call the MPs (Military Police).

Five MPs came out. They were all from Chicago and New York. She says they knew less about what to do about a rattle snake than she did. One of them carefully lifted the lid while the other four drew there pistols to shoot. She screamed and said, "You are not doing that to my washing machine." They slammed the lid back down and began discussing how they could get the snake out.

Just then the milk man came by (this was in the 40's when milk was still delivered fresh from the truck rather than purchased in the grocery store). He knew just what to do. He got a stick with a fork on the end, carefully lifted up the lid to the washing machine and pinned down the snakes head. He then grabbed the snake and quickly threw it into the field next to the house where five MPs emptied their guns into it.

Life returned to normal but Mom still looks before she puts laundry in the tub.

I saw this on someone else's blog and I lost who it was, so I share it with you with full disclosure that it is a copy from another crocheting blogger. The instructions are simple.

  • Make a chain long enough that it measures the same as the headband.

  • Single crochet down one side and then chain one and turn

  • Single crochet down the other side of the chain.

  • Now, fold the two sides of single crochet together and slip stitch them together so you form a tube.

  • Don't close one end of it.

  • Slip the headband into the tube and stitch the end closed.

That's it. I am going to make one for each of my granddaughters.

Having been raised in the Air Force, I have grown up with the mentality that you make friends while you are there and when you leave, you leave everything behind, including your friends. Consequently, I have 4 women who come to mind when I think of good friends (outside of my family). Becky, Connie, Gwen and RoseAnn. None of them are on the computer like I am, so our friendship must be sustained by letter and phone. I am terrible at that. However, every time I get together with one of them, it is like time never passed.

Okay, I have it all figured out--blogging friends only know the side of you that you want them to know. That makes these friendships kind of like being a grandparent. Why do grandchildren love their grandparents so much? Because we have no issues, we don't need to correct them, we don't need to monitor them, we just need to listen to them and love them and spoil them and send them home to reality. They only see the side of us that we want them to see.

But seriously, have you read Bryn's post today? This is who my truest friends are. I love my daughters and my daughter's-in-law. If I could spend a day doing just what I wanted to do, I would want to do it with them. They truly are best friends.

I did not have a normal childhood. My mother is crazy. Now, don't get the wrong idea, she is crazy in all the right ways. She is full of life, full of energy (even at 84), full of opinions, actively seeks education. She is a compassionate person giving the last she has to help someone who has less. So, why do I say she is crazy?

When I was in high school, she woke up one morning and decided we needed a day off in the middle of the week. She took my sister and I up in the mountains for the day. We didn't do anything spectacular or amazing, we just drove up into the mountains, had a picnic and took pictures of each other. I love those pictures (mom is the one beating her chest like Tarzan). Then she wrote an excuse for the Principal which my sister and I gleefully took to school the next day. When the Principal read the note, the sparks flew--the Principal just knew my sister and I had written the note and signed our mother's name, surely a mother would not just take her children out of school for no good cause. She had to go to the school and he had to apologize to us.

We have wonderful stories in our family about Mom with a broken leg, Mom with a bowl of moist candy in the living room, Mom leaving the car keys in Dad's pocket and how she got them back when he had flown off on a mission for the Air Force, Mom put in jail in Germany, Mom getting a speeding ticket for going 120 mph and refusing to pay, Mom stealing chickens from the Bishop, Mom with her toe caught in the bathtub faucet (oh wait, that was Lucille Ball).

Whatever, was going on in her life or ours she wanted to participate. I remember hurting her feelings one time because of her innocent exuberance to join in the fun. We were walking home from Church. There were three or four girls and my Mom. We were all talking about bleaching streaks in our hair and doing it for each other. Mom, said "I'll do it for you, Sandi." I said in the typical teenage voice, "Oh, not you." Immediately I could see she was hurt. I don't recall any more of what happened about that incident, but I do remember that my Mom bleached a spider in the front of my hair and I don't recall any of the other girls being allowed to do it.

Once Mom was in a shopping mall and she walked into a piano store. The salesman walked up to her and asked her if she would watch the store while he went to get some lunch. Caught off guard, she said "okay." When she retells the story she recounts how silly she felt standing there and that she can't figure out why she stayed. Luckily no one came in and soon the young man returned with his lunch in hand and she went on her way.

I can see my Mom when I was a little girl and we were traveling all over Europe in a little car with no air conditioning. She always wore a nylon dress (they dry fast when you sweat). She would roll the window down, pull her dress up around her knees, let the breeze from the window billow her dress, fan herself and start to sing. We learned every song she knew.

Mom taught me to love my elders and treat them right. She taught me to be honorable. She taught me to be kind, loving and forgiving. She taught me to love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She taught me to be creative. She gave me exuberance for life.

In fact, if I had to choose one word that described my Mom, I would choose exuberant. I love you Mom.

Googled Cinco de Mayo (so I would be sure to post my first SPT properly) and found that it is much like St. Patrick's day. Celebrated in America but no so much in Ireland/Mexico. "A common misconception in the United States is that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day; Mexico's Independence Day is September 16 (dieciséis de septiembre in Spanish)." (

The discovery that it is simply a celebration for the sake of celebrating allows for this celebration. I bought the tickets to go to Germany for 12 days--June 2-14. Whoohoo!

This is a birthday present for my husband.

Did you know you have a golden birthday? It is the day when the age you turn is the same as the day in the month you were born. My golden birthday was December 31, 1977. When was yours?

It is difficult to “let go” and yet, that is the very thing we must do to allow our children to be independent, functioning members of society. After the initial shock of leaving my children alone with a babysitter and finding out that they would survive, the next life changing event happened when I had to allow my first born to go off to school alone.

We registered for school and visited the classroom. We met the teacher and the principal. We found out what bus he was to ride and where to pick it up. We talked about what to expect and prepared in every way possible. We walked to the bus stop with him to be sure all went well. Then the day came when he felt confident to catch the bus alone. (This was in 1972, when the world was much safer—I would never allow this to happen in 2006.)

His Dad was home because he worked shift-work and this was a sleeping day and working night. I had appointments all day and was gone early. Brian confidently, independently, left to catch the bus. His Dad went to bed. It started to rain. About one hour later, Brian’s Dad woke with a start when he saw Brian standing beside the bed soaking wet with big tears running down his cheeks.

The bus had come and gone and Brian had been standing on the wrong side of the road. He was so small that the bus driver didn’t even see him. He waited for an hour in the rain thinking it would come back, but it never did and he had to go home wet and disappointed. His Dad listened to his story while he dried him off and then let Brian crawl into bed with him and rest in the comfort and secure feeling that it was okay and he was loved. No formal schooling that day, but one of the best lessons learned. He was loved.

The next year, Brian’s sister Tori started school and as they left for the bus at the beginning of the school year, I heard Brian tell Tori, “The most important thing you can learn is the number on your bus and what side of the road it stops on.” Then off they went hand-in-hand toward their independence. Celia started school two years later--no sweat.


I don't think
I was that good
of a Mom
even though
I tried real hard
and I loved you
with all my might.

The #8 picture
reminded me
of you
going to Kindergarten
that first day.

For some reason
your leaving
the home
hurt the most,
much more
than the others.
they seemed

You were so frail and tiny.
You put your hand on the window
and I put mine on yours
from the other side
and I left it there,
even walking
along the side of the bus
till I couldn't anymore.

Then you turned
and held on to the back
of the cracked
brown leather seat,
and caught me
in your view,
watching me
wave at you.

I cried
silent tears,
softly flowing
to my lips, my chin.

You did not wave,
just stared
keeping careful watch
with your big brown eyes
open wide with fear.

© Sharon Mack

Sharon is a contributor to the Banyan Tree to which I belong.

So, there I was, prostrate on the dentist’s chair (well actually I was neither face down nor on the ground, but I felt that I was more than just lying back, ya know what I mean?) and suddenly I realized what a grotesque view of the world this man must have.

I asked him a thought-provoking question related to something of interest to him in order to encourage him to carry on about something…


rather than ask me questions (causing him to quit his torturous actions, and remove his instruments for any amount of time, thus prolonging the agony) expecting me to respond.

He was waxing poetic about the fact that most of his clients have a natural reflex with their tongues and that they can close off their throats with them and that every once in a while he has a patient gag, you know, that kind of stuff, when he took his right index finger and pulled my lower lip down in a position to which I hope it never becomes accustomed, and began chipping away at the inevitable plaque buildup on the lower front teeth …

…and I wondered what kind of an image he has of me should he ever think of me during the six months of our separation.

See, I know he remembers me, I looked in his folder and he doesn’t have personal notes there and his memory is sketchy so he doesn’t have something he reviews before I come in or he would have exact recall. (I know because I had another doctor who did that.) But he remembers about my son’s fantastic accomplishments, he knows I’m a grandma, he remembers I don’t like x-rays.

So, knowing that he sees me with my face in contortions as he works on me, I wonder if he thinks I’m not bad looking for an old broad, or if he remembers me with my mouth pulled back and a little spittle on my cheek, yuk.

And another thing. How much saliva do you have to accumulate in your mouth before a dentist leaning over you, with your lips grotesquely pulled out of shape, looking right down into that vast expanse that was your mouth a few minutes before (and hopefully will be again soon) notices the accumulating liquid and uses that horrid little sucking machine to clear it out so you don’t drown? It feels like a gallon of water resting on your throat and he doesn’t even notice—I had to lift my head and give him the eye signal, like something from Sienfeld, that I needed help NOW. I couldn’t talk, if I did my tongue would have another spontaneous movement away from my throat and then I might drown.


Well, at least I don’t have any cavities and my 60 year old baby tooth is still intact. (It has actually become part of the bone and that is called ankylose—learn somethin’ new every day)

Recently, some friends were engaged in a conversation about how poor they had been as children. I thought how lucky I was to have never suffered a poor day in my life. Then I began to think about it and I realized that we were dirt poor and I didn't even know it.

We lived in a house out of the grace of a dear friend for little or no rent.

We ate out of another dear friend's garden as much as we wanted. He told us we would be doing him a favor to eat out of his garden, he always over planted and it was a lot of work. We weeded and harvested.

We bought our groceries from the local grocery store on credit and Mom paid when she could.

We got sacks of food when the man running the Bishop's Store House thought we might be needing some. He always told Mom he was just going to throw it out and if we couldn't use it maybe we knew someone who could. I suppose he knew Mom wouldn't take it if she felt it was a handout.

All of our clothes were homemade out of the least expensive remnants. Mom was a genius with the sewing machine.

There were no luxuries at out house, but there was always a pot of beans on for company, and company always came.

Mom had to work two jobs at 75¢ an hour to keep food on the table, a son on a mission and a daughter in college.

Our main form of recreation was sitting on the front porch and visiting. Friends stopped by, they knew we would be on the porch or in front of a big fire in the fireplace. We got firewood from those who just brought it by and left a little of their newly cut cord.

We never asked for anything, we were simply surrounded by people who love us, cared about us, and knew our situation.

Were we poor? Depends on your definition.