Never Could Say Goodbye

Why did the process of leaving a family friend or relative’s house seem to take forever?  Little kids hated adult small talk, “My how you’ve grown.  What grade were you in school? You’re almost as tall as your older brother.”

Adult chattering never stopped.  Pitiful expressions, tugging at mom’s skirt, never made the process go faster. Going to your father for help didn’t work, either.  His standard response, “Go ask your mother.”  Which really meant, he knew from years of experience, saying goodbye could not be hurried.

Two generations later, blessed with more patience, the process hadn’t changed.  Only the players in these mini-dramas were different.  Grandma, family matriarch, cooked at home–did most of the cooking away from home.

For that reason, the head chef needed proper utensils, small appliances, to feel at home away from home–anything easily transportable.

Leftovers had to be divvied up.  Grandma refereed the process.  “Don’t take all of that–take more of this.  Your sister likes cranberries, you know.”

“Where were the disposable containers?  I can’t find anything in your kitchen.  Why do you keep things on  top shelves where I can’t reach them?  Better take a couple of pieces of this lemon meringue pie.  Your grandpa and I will never eat it–it will just go bad.”

Lost items, previously ignored, became priorities; followed by discussions of where said lost items could be; bouts of anxiety, then, retrieval of lost items–purses, sweaters, jackets, electronic devices.  When, items weren’t found.  “Well, I’ll pick it up next time–or you can mail it to me.”  The postal service would never go out of business on our account.

When visitors left our house, the process was mostly the same.  Grandkids added interesting twists to the goodbye process.  Internet savvy kids left behind connectors, adapters–strange to unhip grandparents, various clothing articles.  They sometimes took things home, not noticed, until weeks, even months, later.

“What happened to the Caladryl lotion?”  I asked, after getting into some poison ivy.  “Oh, one of the grandkids took it home–he had an itchy rash.”  That wasn’t going to help me at that moment.

Goodbyes and hugs took forever, because we never could say goodbye.



Red Delicious Apples

After yesterday’s dismal road food, it was a complete turn-around at a familiar favorite restaurant in my old neighborhood.  The restaurant’s name is similar to the title.

“Under the apple tree,” would be a good guess.  After fifteen years, neighborhoods change.  The neighborhood’s all grown up now.  It’s a little more congested than before.

City planners–that silly traffic circle, serving the state highway and one subdivision entrance street–what’s up with that?

Breakfast was wonderful.  Good service, great food, at reasonable prices.  The parking lot was crowded; that was a familiar good sign.

A Place To Light

The annual Christmas journey was completed in record time on Sunday.  A combination of good weather, no traffic tie-ups, and drafting behind some Floridians.

The shopping is completed.  All gifts were wrapped by yours truly.  Groceries purchases finished today in preparation for the Christmas feast.

Now, the food preparation starts in earnest.  The mantle of official turkey carver has been passed down to me.  In the interest of public safety the cooking will be done by others. I’ll be ready on Christmas Day.




Reunions with Missouri relatives were quite the thing.  As I grew older, lost touch, except for funerals.  It was a four-hour trip each way, in pre-interstate days–most of it along legendary Route 66.

There were two bridges, near Alton, Illinois, that crossed the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.  Both very narrow–the first bridge, had a bend at the beginning.  How they managed to squeeze in toll booths was a miracle.

Black rubber tire marks scuffed the outer concrete curbs on both sides.  Trucks and errant drivers had difficulty following the narrow lanes.  I faintly remember plastic bridge tokens being given as change; used on the return trip.

I’m sure there were territorial disputes on this long ride–mostly among us three brothers in the back seat.  Little sister, Marsha, rode in front with mom and dad.

Cousins were aplenty on dad’s side of the family.  Dad was an only child. Grandpa grew up in a large family, near Rolla, Missouri.  That was where the family settled after their immigration to America.

The above picture was taken with dad’s Kodak Brownie camera.  It resembled  a small black box, with lenses stuck on the front.


I’m holding a gun–play or BB gun, next to my brother Jerry.  My sister, Marsha, is to my left, snuggling a teddy bear.  Hopefully, at that point she’d recovered from walking into my croquet mallet back swing.

It hadn’t been deliberate, but I got in trouble nevertheless.  The croquet, was promptly seized and put away for the duration of our visit.  My older brother, George, found a girl’s bike to amuse himself.  Possibly, from the nearby white storage shed?

Next to Marsha, is cousin Cora Frances–wearing a pop-bead necklace.  They were quite popular at that time.  Pop-beads, were fun to pull apart and snap back together.  Eventually, at the hands of mischievous boys, the “snap” got worn out.

It was great fun exploring nearby woods and streams.  The terrain had more rocks and hills that my native Illinois.  None of my extended family does large-scale family reunions anymore; it’s a shame the tradition has died out.  Missouri reunions made for long days, happy memories.

Editor’s note: Story is a “bounce off” inspired by “Calamity Cousins,” from

Camera image, http://www.camerapedia.wikia,com