After The Hurricane

Posted by on Aug 30, 2011 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

Right before our first anniversary we were discussing our favorite memories from that year. As I sorted through the mental pictures one series kept coming back. There we were, in our back yard under a tarp attached under the awning and to poles in the yard to make a tent. It was morning and we were cooking coffee over a gas camp stove. Then it was night and we were reading by lantern light. Then it was hot, mid-day, and I was canning little meatloaves in jelly jars on a gas camp stove… What on earth? Well, let me explain. The truth is, some of my best memories are related to the hardest experience of the year, Hurricane Wilma. Coming here the first of July, I knew that I was arriving just in time for hurricane season. I had watched the previous year’s hurricane season with more than my usual “oh, those poor people” interest since I was dating someone from Florida. I understood the potential intellectually but, it’s just not the same until you experience it. We had shuttered the house for Hurricanes Katrina (it went right over our house but only as a category one – like a blustery day in Wyoming with some rain), and for Rita. We had endured the tomb like feeling of every window being covered. We had filled several two liter bottles with water, just in case. My husband had purchased many cans of tuna and corned beef. We filled all three vehicles with gas since gas can be hard to get after a hurricane. Then we waited. I was scheduled to be at the hospital on the “before-during” rotation. This meant that I was called in to the hospital the night before the hurricane started, and I would stay until it was over. They have people there to work the day shift, and then the night shift, so you bring your clothes, a book, your spouse or family, and there you are. Bruce decided to take them up on the offer, mostly to keep me happy and we spent the night on an air mattress on the floor of a CCU room, listening to the wind howl through the shutters. The hurricane hit early in the morning, more powerfully than expected. There were reports of funnel clouds in the storm and we watched some of the shutters blow loose. Water came through windows and part of the hospice department experienced roof damage with a major leak. The hospital staff pulled together and moved patients where needed until the storm stopped We watched a tree fall on a car in the parking lot and breathed a sigh of thanks that it wasn’t our car. The storm abated about mid-day and by the time I got off work at 7:30 p.m. we were able to drive home. Traffic lights were down everywhere (90 % of the traffic lights in Broward County) some hanging down onto the ground in the middle of the intersections....

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Joyful Reunion. . .

Posted by on Aug 27, 2011 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | 1 comment

After working as an LPN for three-and-a-half years I decided to go back to school and get my RN license. I was twenty-six at the time. I applied and was accepted at Sheridan College in Sheridan, Wyoming and spent one school year there.  It’s been twenty-three years but part of my heart is still there. Before school started my parents went with me and we met the Pastor. After I arrived the Pastor’s family was quick to have me come over for a meal and even quicker to stamp themselves all over my heart. The day after graduation my parents went to church with me and then we drove out of town, my car following theirs. I bawled all the way through church. I cried all the way to Buffalo, Wyoming. I was leaving yet another group of beloved friends and I would never see them again. WAIT! STOP! Suddenly it hit me. I was an adult. This wasn’t like when I was a kid and we moved away and I never saw my friends again. I could go back and visit any time I wanted. And I did. I visited a couple of times a year for most of the years until I got married. The thing is that this is a tough reality for Preacher’s Kids. I think it’s tough for any child who has to move. There are benefits to moving, sure. You get new friends. You learn about new cultures. But there are always the friends you leave behind. Even if you do get the chance to say goodby, those promises you make each other to stay in touch often don’t materialize. I have failed many times in keeping up with friends. I wonder sometimes, where did that person go? What did they do with their life? I sure wish I knew. Facebook has been an awesome tool for reconnecting with people. I have friends from over forty years ago who are now my facebook friends. This week my sister and I had the joy of going to lunch with one such friend. Kandi was the friend who invited me over on Sunday afternoons She was the friend I sat with in church every chance I got. We went roller skating together. She took me snipe hunting. We climbed Sioux Lookout. We rode horses on her ranch. It was Kandi who sat with me the night my Mommy died and listened to me as I “verbally processed” the worst day of my life. Then, when we were thirteen, suddenly it ended and we moved. I didn’t even get to say goodby. Tuesday we said hello again and it was AWESOME. Actually that word isn’t awesome enough to describe it.  Sure, it was a bit weird. I still pictured her at thirteen and now she has grown sons and is soon going to be a Grandma! We spent most of the time just catching up on the basic events and family changes of the past 36 years....

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Home Roots

Posted by on Aug 22, 2011 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

I love looking out the kitchen window of my parent’s house into the back yard. It is a big back yard with some terraces which my Grandpa built. On those terraces are a mass of marigolds. So much bright orange in the middle of the unusual dark green. It’s still green here in SD which is pretty amazing for this time of year.   Just outside the window is a bird feeder. This morning there were about ten sparrows fighting for a spot on the bird feeder. They weren’t sharing very well.   This house is the parsonage and my Dad has been the Pastor here for twenty years now. Before that, my Grandpa Onstott was the Pastor. When my dad married my step-mom this was where I first met my new Grandparents. So, for 37 years now this has been a family home. Maybe that’s why I tell people I am from South Dakota even though I only lived here for ten years. I don’t know. But it is so good to be home.   I have been drowning (happily) in attention from my nieces and nephews. I have been hatching imaginary and impossible plans with them as to how we could make the distance between SD and SC or NC smaller. No real possibilities yet. . . I’ll let you know if we come up with something.   In the midst of this my brother gave me an interesting piece of information.   “The McKnight’s came from the Salisbury District in Rowan County, NC. . . “ This was said in his usual slow, deliberate, watch-out-and-run-if-you-have-time-because-there-is-an-hour-long-description-of-minute-family-history-factoids-about-to-unleash manner.   “Really?”   He went on to explain that George and his son Roger McKnight back in the 1700’s had a chapel there in the area and in fact were quite good friends with Asbury, one of the first bishops of the Methodist church. In fact, the first two Methodist-Episcopal churches camp meetings were held in the McKnight Chapel.   Roger’s son was named William Asbury McKnight and his son was named Asbury. Asbury’s son was named Clark McKnight, and Clark’s son was F.W. McKnight, my maternal grandfather.   I stood in stunned silence (I know, it’s quite a feat) and then I shouted. “I’m moving home.”   So, now in Salisbury, my new town I get to explore family roots that go back over 250 years. It is amazing to me. And, that doesn’t count the connections to the Revolutionary battle at King’s Mountain to which some of our Stover ancestors were attached. Bruce’s family was at King’s Mountain too. . . who’da thunk, Huh?   Maybe the distance isn’t so far from where I’ll be to home, after...

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Missing the Part In the Middle

Posted by on Aug 18, 2011 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

We are enjoying exploring the city of Salisbury. Whenever I move to a new town I like to spend some time just driving around finding out where everything is. I find my way by landmarks more than street signs. I can remember where it is from the McDonalds, the Sonic, the Dairy Queen. . . you get the picture! 🙂 The past couple of weeks when I’ve been here in Salisbury I’ve spent a lot of time driving around and looking for the “FOR RENT” signs out in front of homes and apartments. We are comfortably settled in our camper trailer for now, but we’ll need a place before long. I drove back into Newberry the other day and felt my heart leap when I saw a FOR RENT sign down the street from our house. Then I realized. . . oh wait, wrong town. Oh, brother. Anyway, as we drive around we begin to remember the different things we have seen and we recognize the landmarks. We’ve been back and forth from the campground to town many times now so I felt pretty confident I had seen everything there is to see on that drive. But I hadn’t. “Have you seen the red caboose just above the road,” Bruce asked me one day? He was talking to me on the phone as he drove into town. “No, a caboose? Where?” So, he described where it was. I recognized all of the landmarks he described all around it, but I sure didn’t remember the caboose. Bruce agreed assuring me  he hadn’t noticed it before either. “It’s around that Wagon Wheel place and the For Rent sign,” he explained. I remembered the Wagon Wheel, and I sure remembered the For Rent sign, but no caboose. The next time I drove to town I watched. But, alas I didn’t see it. Once I got to the town of little town of Franklin I knew I had missed it. Next time, I thought. So, the other evening as I drove out to the camper again I watched, determined not to miss it. I saw the For Rent sign. Then I saw the Wagon Wheel. I craned my neck all directions trying not to miss anything. I even looked on the other side of the road. Nope. No caboose. “Did you see the caboose,” Bruce asked again when he got home? “No!” By now I was frustrated. “It is right between the Wagon Wheel and the For Rent sign but there are trees on either side. Don’t focus on those two things or you will miss it” he said. So, this morning I drove slower and I watched. There is the Wagon Wheel, and I see the For Rent. . . wait. In between them, not twenty feet from my car was a CABOOSE. A red caboose right there in front of God and everybody!  How on earth did I miss that? And it made me think. How often do we do that? We are...

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A Leader We Can Trust

Posted by on Aug 1, 2011 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

I don’t know if you are as frustrated with “politics” in America as I am. I just want to shake them and say, “Do your job!” It seems they can’t get anything decided until the last screaming minute and then they have to play “chicken.” It struck me this morning that we sometimes think that God is doing the same thing. What? Did I hear you right? Yes, you did. But, be careful. I didn’t say God does this. I said, “We sometimes think that God is doing the same thing.” The truth is that we are wrong, of course. Now that I have your attention, let me explain. We have something we want or need from God. Sometimes it is a true need. Maybe it is money to pay a necessary bill. I know a lot of people who are living paycheck to paycheck and even then, they have to decide which bills are going to be paid. Or not. So, we pray for God to provide. And we wait. And wait. And wait. Often He doesn’t provide in the way we thought He would. Sometimes we lose out on opportunities we hoped for, or maybe even lose a home. But! God does come through, just in the nick of time. His time. He provides for us in some way. His way. The difference, of course is that HE is GOD and HE knows ALL and HE is RIGHT. All of the time. Even when our mind tells us He isn’t. So, I’m going to put my trust in the God of All and squelch every inclination to fret and worry about what they are doing in Washington. Or not doing. Oh, I’ll still give my opinion, hopefully based on scriptural principles. But my trust? That is in the King. The King of Kings. My Abba...

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An Evening in Nebraska and South Dakota Right Here in South Carolina

Posted by on Jul 16, 2011 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

It’s not like I was hurting for something to do tonight. I have a huge list of tasks that need done this weekend while I’m home here in Newberry. And tomorrow will be a wash since I have a class to go to for work. So, I really needed to stay home and put my nose to the grindstone.   However, once I saw the notice in the paper that the concert in the park downtown was Cowboy Music I knew there was nothing on the list that couldn’t wait. Or wouldn’t have to.   When I got to the park I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were cowboy hats in the town square. Cowboy hats on people wearing jeans and cowboy boots. I could feel my heart rate jump. I picked a park bench close to the microphones. I wanted to hear every word.   Oh my. For the next hour I sat and alternately resisted the urge to jump up and twirl across the grass like a child unable to contain her joy at this piece of home, or sit and wail because I missed my family, especially my Grandpa Jones.   They sang a lot of the old cowboy songs and the crowd of mostly seniors sang along. I heard comments about memories from the picture show when they were children. My memories were a bit different.   I was remembering helping Grandpa saddle Brownie. I was remembering riding with Grandpa to get some cows in. I was remembering watching hours of the old westerns on TV on Sunday afternoons at Grandpa and Grandma’s.   When they sang a song by “Grandpa Jones” from TV I laughed because I remembered how much my Grandpa Jones loved watching that show. When they sang a song asking where the cowboys have gone I wanted to stand up and shout, “THEY ARE STILL THERE!”   I thought of my cousin Gordon, riding across the Sandhills on his horse. I wished every one of those people there could see a real cowboy, on a real ranch. I felt like I knew something they didn’t know. I am blessed.   It was cool here today, the first day under 90 degrees since May. The humidity was low and there was a chilly breeze. If I closed my eyes I could imagine myself in Nebraska or South Dakota. By the time the concert ended I was shivering in the cool air but I certainly wasn’t going to get up and go anywhere.   I was right where I wanted to be, enjoying an evening in Nebraska and South Dakota right here in downtown Newberry, South...

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Of Thumping Watermelons

Posted by on Jul 8, 2011 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

Have you ever thumped a watermelon? Do you know what I’m talking about? I’m here to tell you, it is the most accurate way to choose a watermelon. I almost always thump them before buying them. Besides, it makes me laugh. It also makes me miss my Grandpas. My Grandpa Jones always grew some melons out in the field, sometimes by the sweet corn. One year the melons did especially good and we were staying with them for a while before moving to California. We ate melons morning, noon, and night. It was spectacular! Especially the cantaloupe—or muskmelons—as we called them. You don’t thump them, though. My Grandpa McKnight is the one who had the great watermelon-thumping story. Now, you have to remember that he was a funny, gentle man and he loved to make others laugh. He had a witty sense of humor that was beyond description. So, here’s how it went down. At least this is how I remember it being told. One day Grandpa and my Aunt Carolyn were in the grocery store. Aunt Carolyn was visiting and they decided they wanted some watermelon. So, Grandpa bent over the pile, put his ear close to the first melon and thumped it with his big finger. Then he went on to another one. Aunt Carolyn, wanting to be helpful I suppose, started thumping and listening too. Finally she looked over at Grandpa and asked, “What are we listening for, Daddy.” “I don’t know,” he replied. “I just know you are supposed to thump them.” This led to a fit of hysterics in the middle of the produce section at Ingall’s. Now, I’m pretty sure Grandpa knew that he was listening for the watermelon with the lowest tone, but it sure did make for a great laugh. And, every time I thump a watermelon I think of him and I smile. Sometimes I even laugh, right out loud in the produce...

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Posted by on Jul 4, 2011 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

It is the 4th of July today and I am sitting on my porch. I’m trying to enjoy a bit of the day before heading back down to SC to work. Yes, I get to work tonight. Someone has to be there to take care of those patients and it’s my turn. The upside is that there is always extra food around the hospital on holidays. . . because we bring it. If we are going to work a holiday, we are going to eat well. That seems to be the nurses’ motto. As I sat here I was remembering some of the 4th of July happenings from my past. I don’t remember that we had a particular tradition at our house when I was a kid, except we always got a box of sparklers. That was the highlight for us! Sometimes we were somewhere where there was a parade, sometimes we just put a flag out. I remember one of the first times I went to see Grandpa and Grandma Jones as an adult, without a parent was for the 4th of July. We went over to the park by the hospital and sat with Gregg, Stephanie, and some little kids (who are now adults) and watched the fireworks. When we lived in Scottsbluff we went to my Uncle Tom’s house and sat and watched the Morrill fireworks from the vantage of their hill. It was so cold we had to have jackets on. For several years, I made an annual trip to Littleton, Colorado to spend the 4th of July with Vonda. We would go to her church picnic, then sit on her little porch/deck and watch the fireworks from the city while listening to great marches on the radio. I have photos at home from a really awesome 4th of July. It was 2003 and my sister and brother-in-law invited the church and family out to their place at Nemo, SD for an old-fashioned 4th. The kids all got dressed up and painted their faces and we had a boat race in the creek. I think I got really wet. I have an amazing picture of the kids all posed with arms all akimbo in front of the Campground Sign near their house. I have several classic photos from that day. In 2006, on the 4th of July a child was born. My oldest niece got her biggest wish. . . a little sister. That day in history Katie was born. Her Daddy was so proud his little girl was born on Independence Day. She is a joyful energetic bundle and I wish I could give her a hug right now. Yesterday in church the Pastor handed out Kennedy bicentennial half-dollar coins. As I looked at it several thoughts went through my head. First, I remembered Vonda, MY baby sister. She is a bicentennial kid. This led me to the mathematical conclusion that it is only 15 years until our country will be 250 years old....

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Home Is Where The Story Starts

Posted by on Jul 2, 2011 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | 1 comment

A couple of weeks ago our friend, Rita came to visit us from Chicago. One afternoon we decided to go downtown Hendersonville to do a little shopping. We found ourselves in the Mast General Store. There were some coasters with sayings on them and one of them said something like “Home is where the story begins.” Rita, knowing my blog style read it to me and lifted her eyebrows. “Oh, that’s perfect!” I stammered. I couldn’t even spit out an explanation of my excitement. I’ve been thinking about this blog for awhile now. Originally I started my Double Cousins blog to help promote my first book. Then I wrote about all kinds of things since there just aren’t enough things to say about the book to write three times a week. Besides, I enjoy sharing my life. So, it seemed more and more of the posts had to do with life, with memories of my family, lessons learned from my elders. . . all of that stuff. Now that the second book is out and I definitely have a series I wanted to narrow the focus of the Double Cousins blog. But, what to do with the other stuff I like to write. I know people like to read it. I know this because my stats tell me that since I’ve stopped writing those “stories”  visits to my blog have dropped off. Hmmm. Anyway, this blog is the answer. I was casting around in my mind for a title that would fit a new blog, one that focuses on my family based, wisdom-learned-from-my-elders based, funny daily happenings based musings. The thing is, all of my stories do come from who I am which comes directly from those who came before me. So, when Rita read that quote to me it struck a chord. I knew I had my title. One that fit my writing. The header at the top of the page is another clue. That is the sod house where my Daddy was born during the Great Depression. It was my grandparents first home. My Grandpa Jones wrote three books about his life which is partly what inspired me to write. This house. . . it is, in many ways,  where my story started. . . So, this blog will be about family, lessons learned, but mostly the truth that Home is Where The Story...

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