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Mom in her small green house a few years ago

This was posted a few years ago at another site that is now deleted.  Mother is a phenomena that is worthy of sharing.

**

Mother always amazes and surprises me. When it comes to saving money, my mother’s an expert.  She is naturally funny and never sweats the small stuff. There are so many amusing stories on her frugality I wanted to share one of them.

 

In 1953, my mother arrived in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario with two young children, a suitcase and twenty- four dollars. When she stepped from the train her expression was that of awe and wonder.  She was amazed at the vastness of the land, green fields and forests and said, “No one should go hungry in this country.”

 

We emigrated from Germany, a country that was still healing from the wounds of war. Destruction and devastation was still evident everywhere.  Hamburg, the city where I was born, displayed rubble and debris where buildings once stood.  Jobs, food and shelter were scarce so my parents decided to start a new life in a new country . . . Canada.

 

My mother is the eternal optimist.  She has an outlook on life like Auntie Mame and when she speaks, her accent sounds like Dr. Ruth.  I don’t know which came first, the boards for our house or a shovel to turn over the soil for a garden.

 

Being new in the country, starting over, scrimping and saving; life wasn’t easy, but we felt like royalty in our 24 by 24 foot house.  We had a roof over our head that we could call our own, food on the table, and in the summer we always had fresh vegetables and fruit along with brilliant blooms from my mother’s garden.

 

Today my parents are well off with a beautiful house with ocean- view property in Vancouver Island.  She still watches every penny, turning it over a few times before spending it; an old habit that served her well over the years.

 

Her beautiful gardens are legendary and the envy of the neighbourhood. Mother’s fruit trees include kiwi, plum, pear, peaches and apples. She has tropical trees and shrubs, and multiple species of flowers surrounding the goldfish pond and fountain. Mother’s daily routine takes her to the back yard where her vegetable and fruit garden sits on the side of the hill. You have to duck your head when you enter the green-house to avoid clusters of fat, juicy grapes that compete for space with plump, saucer- sized tomatoes.

 

Mother has never forgotten the hard times and hunger during WW11.  Even though she is well off and doesn’t have to worry about money or food, she is still very frugal.  A couple of years ago mother called me from Vancouver Is. and said in her Dr. Ruth accent, “I can’ t believe the price of seeds.  Did you know they want $1.50 for a small package of Roma tomato seeds? that’s ridiculous.”  She went on to say, “so I bought a Roma tomato from the farmers market for about 4 cents, brought it home, sliced it, removed the seeds, made a tomato sandwich for lunch and put the seeds in small soil filled yogurt pots.  I ate the tomato and got a crop of tomatoes all for 4 cents.”  I laughed and laughed. That’s my mother.

 

My husband, daughter and I were fortunate enough to spend winter in 2010 at my parent’s place in Vancouver Island. When spring arrived, suddenly a row of small yogurt containers lined the window sills.  I smiled, watching mother hover over them like a mother hen. The warm sun slanted in on the beginnings of that years Roma tomato crop.

 

My heart swells with love and pride at my mother’s passion and ingenuity.  We’ve come a long way since we stepped off the train in 1953.  I look at the yogurt pots on the ledges, thinking, “you’re right mom, no one should go hungry in this country.”

I was devastated a few years ago, (I was just  a young 59 years at the time), I was shopping in a pharmacy and it happened to be seniors day.  Yes, you get a 10% discount on everything you buy.
It suddenly hit me; I was a senior.  I didn’t want to admit it. Suddenly visions of depends, walkers, funeral insurance, and nursing homes swirled in my head.  The sales clerk gave me my discount and I slowly walked to my car feeling all of my 59 years.

When did I grow old?  I didn’t see it coming; I always felt so young.  Lucky for me I always felt my cup was half full rather than half empty and I always had a positive outlook on life and a sense of humour.  Heck, age is just a number, right?

I have four children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren who fill my life with colour and wonder.  Today I’ve been married to my childhood sweetheart for fifty-two years. (sigh) I guess that qualifies me as a senior.

Today’s seniors seem younger than our grandparents of the past.  It isn’t unusual to live to one hundred or more, (something I’m aiming for).  I found there really is nothing to worry about.  Look at aging as positive stage in your life.  When you live a healthy life style, you’ll feel liberated to do whatever you want to.

 

I loved this; you made me remember and also had a good laugh. Little did we know how we would cherish those memories down the road many years later. I also remember getting peanut butter in retro tumblers, floral towels in laundry detergent, and gold rimmed plates and cups in Quaker rolled oats. My mother made aprons from flour sacks which had tiny colourful flowers on them. Thanks for the memory. It was a joy to read. xx

Aunt Beulah

The fifties may have been a simpler time, but they weren’t all birthday cake and ice cream. I remember crouching under my desk, hearing my heart thump and my teacher’s hose rub as she patrolled the classroom during an atomic bomb drill. Then, the next day, she distributed iodine tablets my classmates and I obediently swallowed once a week to prevent goiters; we thought taking a pill was better than a large lump that bulged from our necks so that folks mistook us for turkeys.

That was fun?

My past wasn’t all cowering and goiters, however, and I miss many things that filled my childhood with pleasure. For example, I loved the shiny aluminum tumblers that crowded a shelf in our kitchen. When filled with cold beverages, the tumblers frosted over like windshields on a below-zero morning and made everything — grape Kool-Aid, tomato juice, homemade root beer, even water…

View original post 471 more words

“Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.” . . . “Something up above was calling him imperiously,  . . . “Up we go!’ till at last his snout came out into the sunlight, and found himself rolling in the warm grass of the meadow. . . .The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring, he pursued his way across the meadow . . .”   Excerpts from  The Wind in the Willows,  by Kenneth Grahame.

Just like the mole in this beloved children’s story, spring is calling us, drawing us to the warm sunshine after the seclusion of our cellarage of the long cold winter.  I wrote an article years ago for helium on the rebirth of spring and was honoured that Phatitude Magazine wanted to publish it.  Perhaps because of the long winters we have experienced, I want to share this with you.

***

I couldn’t sleep, I felt restless and my mind was already on the tasks of the day. Not wanting to disturb the household I tiptoed into the kitchen to fix myself a cup of coffee. I enjoy the quiet and solitude before the day begins; I selfishly hoard that silent moment for myself. With a steaming mug of coffee in hand, I sit on the stairs of the deck surrounded by compressed shadows. My senses are suddenly alerted to the beauty of spring.

Spring arrives like a debutante, bedecked to beguile the senses. The moisture in the air is a mist, a vapor that settles like a bride’s veil floating gently over the land. Translucent beads of moisture heavy with the scent of the earth, lingers, dispersing its rich, sweet fragrance. I watch the sun slowly emerge; hovering over the vapor, warming it, lifting the veil and kissing the land beneath.100_1197

The beauty resonates through my soul. The earth becomes a bride each spring. She stretches her arms to the sun, just as the trees reach for the sun after the long winter sleep. The air is alive with a symphony of birds; warm breezes carry sweet perfumes from the fields and early blooms. Bees dart from flower to flower and butterflies sail gently above like a living mobile strung from heaven.

The long cessation is over and life awakens. Children play in puddles left by the melting snow and scramble together on the newly exposed patch of green grass. Shiny cans hang from the sugar maples collecting nature’s sweet nectar. Warm breezes sigh over newly plowed fields, and soft spring rain moistens the land making the seeds to swell and explode.

Everywhere life is revealing itself with a flurry of activity. Spring cleaning puts a fresh sparkle into the house after being closed off all winter. It is time to open the windows and let spring breezes rush through the house to invigorate the life within. Summer clothes are unpacked and winter things stored with moth-balls in the attic. The barbecue is uncovered and snow pushers and toboggans are locked away.

Springtime is a new beginning. It’s a love story that extracts the desire in us. Spring creates inspiration, stimulates imagination and evokes dreams. Spring is love and romance, weddings, and births and optimism for happily ever after. Spring is when love is new and innocent, when hearts sing that timeless melody only lovers hear.

A wonderful poem by Paddy Cummins. I want to join the women making hay and sit by a firkin the cabin. I would love to visit Ireland.

Paddy Cummins. Irish Eyes are Smiling.

photyoke ant
If you ever go across the sea to Ireland,
Then maybe at the closing of your day,
You will sit and watch the moon rise over Claddagh
And see the sun go down on Galway Bay.

Just to hear again the ripples of the trout stream,
The women in the meadows making hay,
To sit beside a turf fire in a cabin
And watch the barefoot gossoons at their play.

For the breezes blowing o’er the sea from Ireland
Are perfumed by the heather as they blow,
And the women in the uplands diggin’ praties
Speak a language that the strangers do not know.

And if there’s going to be a life hereafter,
And somehow I am sure there’s going to be,
I will ask my God to let me make my Heaven
In that dear land across the Irish sea.

* * *

‘YOKE THE PONY’ is an acclaimed…

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 Stock Photo ID: 78684245 Copyright:  newrock


Stock Photo ID: 78684245
Copyright: newrock

Parents want their child to succeed in life. They want them to have what they didn’t have and are willing to sacrifice, scrimp and save for their child’s education. But what do you do if your child doesn’t want to finish their education? What happens if their ambition for success isn’t as great as yours? We have to keep in mind that old cliché “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”

A child needs love and guidance, they need to be encouraged to find their own path and not always follow the well-beaten one. A parent should find and encourage the child’s passion; their talent could be that diamond that propels them to success. Getting involved with their school and taking an interest in the child’s activities shows not only support but that you genuinely care about their progress.

By broadening their horizon we can open the door to their imagination and possibilities. Throughout the child’s growing years we can bolster their interest by taking them on field trips. Visit museums; open their eyes to the arts and history. Have them interact with experiments at the science center; join an art group at the art gallery. Keep them active in sports; this will teach them discipline and the exercise will not only strengthen their bodies but also their mind. Join the library and visit the local theater. The more diverse their interests are the greater their portfolio will be for the future.

Children need to feel confident in who they are and unafraid to pursue their dreams. I remember a little boy who wanted to be a garbage collector when he grew up (the garbage truck intrigued him) I told him there was nothing wrong with that as long as he tried his best at the job he chose. Machinery appealed to him and he became a first class crane-operator for a large steel mill.

Pressuring a child into something he doesn’t want is defeating the purpose of success. Success isn’t always about the money; success is when you are happy with your job and look forward to going to work every day.

That old saying, children should be seen and not heard, is an expression that sadly rings true in many homes. We have to listen to our children; help them find their own niche. They should have their own voice and identity. They should fulfill their own dreams and not ours. Even if we don’t always agree with them we should support and help them achieve their dreams.

Parents give their children roots and wings. A good foundation of love, compassion and moral upbringing will be their compass as they pursue their dreams. In whatever they choose; their happiness is their success.

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