Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pool Closing Time by Madeline

It's always a sad time when we have to close the pool for winter but as the temperature begins to drop swimming loses it's appeal. How those people swim in ice water is beyond me. I miss watching my grandchildren splash and swim having taught all but the youngest 4 to swim in this pool. I would love to teach them but they live in Washington State but are here on vacation for these pictures. One picture shows 8 of our 11, the ones missing are the youngest, oldest and middle grandsons but all 3 granddaughters are present. The other picture shows my son and 2 son-in-laws and assorted grandkids. Swimming is my primary exercise during summer months, 2 dips a day, and now I have to pull out my dreaded treadmill to keep my youthful figure. : )....Madeline

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Patriotism or Individualism? by Karl

As I get older I notice a greater shift from patriotism, love and loyalty to our country, to individualism or egoism and the belief that the country only exists to please me and I should be allowed to do anything I please.
I believe I've always been a true patriot with conservative values and never harmed others on purpose. I served in the Army in Korea and did my duty, without complaint, to the best of my ability and still respect our flag.
I was a young boy during World War two and everyone was patriotic to the core. Me and my friends would search everywhere for scrap metal and paper to give to the war effort and were glad to do so. We did anything that was asked of us with no thought of any rewards because we were so proud of our country even at that young age. I remember the school paper drives and the contests to see who could bring the most.
This country was in total agreement to what had to be done and had the will to do it.
This patriotism lasted through the Korean War but started down hill during the Vietnamese war and reached rock bottom for some before it was over. It was sickening watching the filthy hippies burning our flag and acting like wild animals in every way and now it seems to be happening all over again with some of our brain-washed youth. What a shame.
For a short time after 9/11 we all came together briefly but politics got in the way. Maybe something will happen soon to make us regain that seemingly lost love, loyalty and respect for our great country. ...Karl

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Poverty is Relative by Karl

What the government now categorizes as poverty would have put my family of seven in the upper income bracket, in my mind, even in todays dollars. It's hard for kids today to even imagine what poor really is and I'm glad they don't have the struggle we had as children. I'm not talking about the tall tales we sometimes jokingly tell about walking 5 miles to school, up hill both ways, in a driven snow storm even if there is some truth in some of those tales. I did walk over a mile to grammar school from the first grade on, rain or snow, and never had the proper cloths or shoes. When our shoes got holes in the sole we relied on cardboard inside the shoe to make them last a little longer till dad could afford to buy us new ones and of course our socks didn't last long. Underwear was out of the question for the youngest" because no one could see it anyhow". We took our lunch, which consisted of a sandwich and apple or banana, wrapped in newspaper because we couldn't afford paper sacks. We didn't know how poor we were because most of my friends were almost as bad off and we had fun doing things that cost nothing. My best friends' aunt would let us clean and wax her floors every Saturday morning and it took the whole morning to finish and she would pay us each a half dollar and we thought we were rich. We would then walk over 2 miles to the Eastlake" Picture show" and pay our dime to get in and stop at the candy counter to get a coke and big bag of popcorn and there went another dime. There would always be a grade B movie and a western and an exciting serial that continued for about 3 or 4 months and we had to see how the hero would always get out of a sure death jam. Sometime during the movie we would go back to the candy counter for a candy bar of some type and it would usually be something that lasted a while, another nickel spent . We still had a quarter left to last the rest of the week or maybe to splurge it all on something special. When I got in high school things got better but I still had to walk a ways to the streetcar stop and then transfer to another to get there but things began to look up. ......Karl

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Gold country memories #1 by Madeline

After reading Karls' memory of the iceman I thought back to my pre-teen years and what I remembered the most were the snows that we got in our small gold mining town of Nevada City, Ca. http://www.nevadacitychamber.com/
I was about 5 when Pearl Harbor was attacked and the only entertainment
was the movie house on the main street of town if you had the 15 cents which I seldom had so me and my friends made do with our own ingenuity. I remember the winters when we got several feet of snow so much in fact that we could walk over fences instead of through the gates. This made for great sledding which was me and my friends favorite winter sport. We would get at the top of Long Street ,where we lived, which was just perfect for speed with a touch of danger thrown in and several of us would tie our sleds together in tandem which would force us to play follow the leader. We never knew where we would wreck but only that we would find a way somehow to end each ride with a tumble. If by some miracle we made it all the way to the bottom we would almost always crash into each other since we were playing follow the leader but regardless of the crashes we would all get up giggling as little kids do. Other than the occasional scratch or bruise I can't remember anyone getting hurt but only having heartfelt fun..........Madeline

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Ice Man Cometh by Karl

It's amazing how the most mi-nute happening can trigger a memory recall of something that happened eons ago.
I was sitting on my swing on a hot afternoon sipping down my last drop of ice tea and as I swirled the remaining ice around I remembered happy events that happened when I was 4 or 5 years old. We had no refrigerator so we had to buy ice almost daily to put into our "antique" ice-box and I was giving the job at times to wait out by the road to tell the iceman how much we wanted. Sometimes it would be a nickels worth or a dimes worth and for those rare occasions we were cranking ice cream it would be a whole quarters worth..Yum Yum.. After I told him our order he would use an ice pick to stab along the measured line to cut the desired amount and almost always a few chunks would fall into the back of his truck and I, with friends at times, would hop onto the bumper and try to get the largest piece. We would run off licking it while swapping it hand to hand and in the process making mud because we always had dirty hands from playing but we all survived so I guess a little dirt doesn't hurt. That ice meant as much to me then as the finest meal today since we were dirt poor and about the only money we could "earn" would be to find a drink bottle and get the 2 cent deposit. That bought a big cookie and a piece of candy...Again yum yum. We would take part of the 25 cent ice and put it in a burlap bag and use something heavy to bang it until it was small enough to stuff into the wooden hand-cranked freezer beside the gallon metal container that contained the mix and start cranking while adding salt to the ice. The cranking process wore out at least 3 of us kids and there was 5 of us total and when it got too hard to crank Dad would pour more salt on the ice and cover it with the bruised burlap bag to freeze harder. It always seemed ages before the grand opening happened and we sat anxiously and salivating while watching dad disrobe the freezer and brush the excess ice away so as not to get any salt into the icecream container. We all had our bowls ready as dad pryed the lid off and gave it a taste test and and assured us it was the best ever and I believe that made it taste even better. I was the youngest so I got first helping and hurried off to sit on the backporch step and probably took a bite before I was fully seated. I wanted to make it last but homemade ice cream melts fast and my brother and sisters were bending their elbows faster than me so all the bowls were soon licked clean....Yum yum yum

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

You gotta keep busy

I've always heard that you need to keep busy when you retire but I never thought I'd be more busy once I retired. I've always loved woodworking so I stocked my workshop full of all sorts of tools and saws and started slinging sawdust and wood chips but learned real fast that I need to clean it off me before entering the house.
Madeline didn't exactly love sweeping up behind me. I built birdhouses, shelves and all sort of country items that people loved at that time and Madeline learned to tole paint so we started selling at craft shows. I got orders from other painters for unfinished items so often that I was working 12 hour days and I thought I was supposed to be retired. I literally built 1000s of birdhouses for others to paint and resell but once the country craze ended you couldn't give wood items away so I was able to spend more time in our yard building and planting things. I'm posting some pictures of a few of my projects including some of our western town garden with well and building, the bridge over our goldfish pond and some spring flowers. We have walks and paths throughout our property and named some after our grandchilden complete with street signs.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Our first great grandchild

We are posting some pictures of our latest pride and joy Ethan, who was born June 30, 2006 to our oldest grandson and his wife in southeast Texas. We haven't been able to make the trip to see the little fellow yet but are expecting them to be here this Thanksgiving. It seems there is going to be a conflict of some sort during football season since dad is a Crimson Tide fan and mom pulls for Texas A&M and in the pictures he is donning outfits for each. See how proud "dad" looks as he holds his new son.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 remembered

I can't believe it's been five years since the day our lives changed so drastically. Madeline and I were getting dressed in a motel room in Aberdeen Washington when we heard on television that a plane had flown into the trade tower. We were on vacation exploring several National Parks across the country on our way to see our youngest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson in Portland Oregon and had spent the prior day visiting Olympic N.P.
At first glance I assumed a small plane was involved as I recalled one had flown into the Empire State Bdlg. years before but when a second one followed we knew it was a terrorist act. We left for the few hours drive to Portland listening intently to the news on the radio and it seemed no one knew what exactly was going on. We stopped for breakfast at a fast food place and stories were abundant but we could tell people there knew no more than us and were as anxious as us for details of what was going on. We continued on and still believed that the fires would be put out untill the tragic news that both towers had collasped. We had a certain amount of fear as we crossed the long bridge from Washington into Astoria Oregon wondering if the terrorist acts might be country wide. In the week we stayed with our daughter I stayed glued to the TV wondering if something might prevent me from traveling home. We heard that gasoline might cost $5 a gallon or more and other scare stories so we were a bit edgy to say the least. After our week was up we decided to chance it and said our goodbyes and hit the road with $1.59 gas and made it to Yreka, California and every gas station in town had decided to gouge everyone with $2 gas. I bought $8 worth which was enough to get me to the next town because I hate to be ripped off and I will never spend another penny in that town. My idea worked as my next purchase was $1.69 gas which was the highest priced on my trip. Patriotism was alive as flags were waving from overpasses and buildings and anyplace one could be planted.
We decided that those Muslim animals were not going to ruin our plans so we headed toward Death valley N.P. and despite the heat we enjoyed the sights there. After our park visit we drove toward Hoover Dam and saw signs warning that only cars were being allowed to cross the dam and since we were driving a hightop converted van wondered if we would be considered a car for it would be quiet a detour if we had to turn around. What a relief it was as they waved us across and I mouthed a thank you. We made it back to Alabama and for a while everyone seemed to stick together with a common cause but in these short 5 years many have forgotten as they fight every anti-terrorist act that is put forth.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Well it seems as if I was able to make my first post and was even able to post my first picture...Hallelujah!!!!
We are Karl & Madeline and we are senior citizens able to get all those discounts that should go to those less fortunate but we don't decline them.
We have been married almost 52 years and have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and one great grandchild and we will brag about them on another post.
We live in a rural area which is becoming less rural each day as the constant expansion of the population is closing in around us taking away the charm it had 35 years ago when we first built on our almost 3 acres.
Dovesretreat was chosen as our sign-in name because of the multitude of mourning doves that frequent our yard seeking a free meal. In the late afternoon as we sit in our swing (see picture.) waving at friends and neighbors as they pass in their cars we hear the mournful coos of seemingly lost doves calling for their mates. It seems most are found as pairs eventually land in front of us to parade under the bird feeders to find food scratched or tossed to the ground by cardinals and other birds. We have probably 3 dozen feeders in our yard and about a dozen of them are in sight of our swing and it is enjoyable just watching the antics of all birds and wondering how pecking order is established. Squirrels and chipmunks occasionally sneak into the feeders for a quick meal and it's amazing how much the little rascals can cram into their mouths before scampering off.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Old dogs new tricks?

I pause as I remember that old adage about teaching an old dog new tricks and wonder if I am in over my head as me and my wife are both over 70 and we cringe at these new fangled contraptions. We did teach ourselves to send each other e-mail from one end of the house to the other so we didn't have to shout and then we got the nerve to send mail to friends and relatives with great success and can even send pictures.
We thought this would be a great way to place pictures of our family, friends and things and record some of our memories but please excuse any mistakes that we make until we get the hang of it. ;)
This is us doing a little jitter bugging at our old square dance club.