A Big Birthday

Some of you may remember a post I did about my mother-in-law, Myrtle, about a year and a half ago telling about her amazing walking achievements. In her 90s, she still walks about three miles a day and does all the  exercise programs available in her retirement home. To read the post, in case you missed it or want to refresh your memory, here is the link:

https://wordsfromanneli.com/2016/07/29/walk-across-canada/

Today, Myrtle is 96 years old and still going strong. She knows that the secret to staying young is to keep moving.

Here is a photo of her outside her residence door just before Christmas 2017. I think she looks great.

Happy birthday, Myrtle.

96 years young today.

 

 

 

 

Vintage Books and Glasses

When I visited my sister recently, I had forgotten that she has been the guardian of some of the old family treasures from long ago. It was a pleasant surprise to see the items being kept safe behind the glass doors of a china cabinet.

The small blue liqueur glasses and decanter were perhaps bought in our first few years in Canada, more than half a century ago. The small wine or martini glass with the yellow swirls and the spiral stem is from a set that came to Canada with my parents back in 1953. This one is probably all that is left of the set.

When I saw it, I thought of my tongue. Odd, you might think, but memories that involve the senses can be very strong and long lasting.

My parents used to bring out these special yellow swirly glasses at Christmastime and pour a little egg liqueur from a bottle of Bols advocaat. We children were too young to be allowed alcohol, but once in a while, and because it was a festive season, we were allowed to lick out the last bit of advocaat from the yellow swirly glasses. Kind of gross, in hindsight, but as kids, we were thrilled.

So you can see that the yellow swirly glass holds special memories for me — not only the taste of the advocaat, but the smell of Christmas baking, the beautiful Christmas music, the coziness of the house and the love given to us by our parents.

Some might say these glasses are just inanimate objects, but they hold the key to a gold mine of memories.

Under the shelf with the glasses, two books leaned against the back of the cabinet. The old copy of Forever Amber, which I read when I was 16 (and that wasn’t yesterday), and another of my favourite stories, Little Black Sambo. The bigwigs now say that this book is racist, and have banned it, but I loved reading it and never once felt anything negative towards people of another race from that experience. My family and I simply loved that story.

Thanks to Luanne Castle https://writersite.org/2017/11/02/magical-bowls/

for the nudge to trot out old memories.

The Happy Couple

Today’s post is probably going to be the last of the “doll series,” mainly because I don’t have any more dolls. This last pair is the oldest and came to our household about 1975 as a wedding gift brought back from Mexico by one of my sisters.

They both look a little bit in shock. The impact of the meaning of the word “lifetime” has just hit them.

After 42 years, her hands are swollen from all the hard work and her feet look sore. He has obviously been tearing his hair out, putting up with her, and his hands and feet are pretty clumpy too.

But they’re still together. They must have something good going on to make them stay.

When I Am Old

Several years ago, when I retired from teaching at my elementary school, the staff got together and did a little “tea party” for me as they usually did for retiring colleagues. They gave me a doll that had a special meaning, one which I had never heard of until they explained it to me. I’ve kept that doll with my Mexican marionettes and I think of my friends at work fondly when I look at it. This poem by Jenny Joseph explains what I didn’t know about retirement at that time.

When I Am Old

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens,
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
Or only bread and pickle for a week,
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old
and start to wear purple!

Jenny Joseph

I guess I now belong to the Red Hat Society. One thing I’ve learned is that retirement is the best-kept secret ever! It has been a blast.

The Mascot

When the Captain and I were on one of our trips to Baja California, we stopped to do some shopping in Ensenada. I found a puppet-style doll that I couldn’t live without. She was the Mexican version of Annie Oakley. What made me even happier, was buying the doll that had to be her partner.  He is pictured in the photo below Annie.

The store proprietor told me that this doll represents the hen-pecked husband, the Honeydew man (Honey, do this and Honey, do that), but in Spanish they called this fellow a “mandelon,”  because he is ordered about. What woman would not want a mandelon to do things for her? I had to have this doll!

In my novel Orion’s Gift,  Sylvia is all alone in the world and has more than her share of problems. She really needs someone, so I gave her a mascot to lend her strength. Below is a short excerpt from Orion’s Gift, telling about how Sylvia came to adopt Annie.

Excerpt:

In one shop, handmade puppets on strings hung from the ceiling. Each doll had a unique character and, like orphans hoping to be adopted, seemed to call, “Take me with you.” I fell in love with a Mexican Annie Oakley. She held a mini six-gun in each hand and radiated confidence and self-reliance. I paid for her and happily carried her home to my van. I rigged up a spot on the curtain rod behind the seat for Annie to watch over me at night. She’d be my mascot, a reminder that I was strong and could take care of myself.

If you would like to read about Sylvia, you can purchase the e-book for less than the price of a hamburger. Just click on the link to amazon.com.

Click here:  amazon.com

Please help spread the word about Annie the mascot and the book she lives in by re-tweeting this post.

Being Thankful

Susie Lindau has invited fellow bloggers to a hashtag party called the #Blessed Project.

Click on this link to join Susie at her party! https://susielindau.com/2016/11/22/join-the-blessed-project-and-link-up-your-blog/.

My contribution to this blog party is probably much like many other people’s, but it never hurts to say it out loud how thankful we are for our blessings.

I am thankful for:

  1. my husband and our relatively good health. Without it, all the money in the world is worthless.

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2. my wonderful family – both on my side and the Captain’s.

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3. my dogs, Emma and Ruby, who are as much a part of the family as the people are.

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4. readers of my novels. I love writing and it’s great to be able to share my stories.

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5. having enough food to eat and clean water to drink.

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6. The list could go on for miles. Besides the usual family, health, and food and shelter blessings, I am lucky to live near the ocean and yet travel to inland places I love.

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7. I am lucky to be able to see wildlife close to home, especially birds, raccoons, and squirrels. Bears, not so much, although it’s a thrill to see them occasionally.

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8. I feel blessed to have good personal friends and blogging friends.

9. I love living in Canada and visiting the United States.

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10. I should round it off at ten things, but there is too much competition for which blessing should be the last one I’ll mention.

Thank you, Susie, for this great idea. It makes us think of positive things at a time when most of us are getting stressed over the pressures of the upcoming holiday season. It should be a holiday, but someone has to make those cookies, cook those meals, buy those gifts, decorate the house, etc. So when the crush of “have to’s” is getting us down, let’s remember how truly blessed we are.

Playing Annie Oakley

When my sister was small enough to fit into a suitcase, we were all playing with guns. Not real guns, of course, but guns just the same. My hero at the time, because we lived in what we thought of as the Wild West, was Annie Oakley.

My brother and two sisters and I spent hours playing “Cowboys and Indians” out in our backyard and in the backyard of our neighbours who were real Indians. They were Cree and were our best friends in our elementary school days.

We rode our pretend horses around the trails that surrounded our houses. We were on the outskirts of town, a new subdivision going in, developing very, very slowly in our northern town. The hills of excavated soil to be backfilled the next spring provided lookout points and we slapped our thighs  and made clicking noises to spur on our horses, galloping up the hills of dirt, down the gullies of the back alley, and around the sheds and our houses. We stopped behind shrubs to spy on each other, ambushing a careless rider, and killing them with our sixguns.

The irony of our Cowboys and Indians game was that we white folks always wanted to be the Indians and they wanted to be us. Sometimes we took turns. No one ever got hurt, as we were the best of friends, but the goal was to see which team would have “the last man standing” and for the rest of us, who could die the most dramatically. In those days I thought that when you died, no matter what you were doing when you got shot, you had to lie down on your back and spread your arms out (like Jesus on the cross), and close your eyes.

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After all that play with guns, none of us ever had the idea of really shooting someone. We knew it was just a game and that you didn’t play with real guns. We had a healthy respect for guns and never confused pretending to shoot our “Cowboy and Indian” friends in the backyard with shooting anyone with a real gun.

In this picture, my sister was probably about 3 or 4 years old. She was very well adjusted even then, and so she is to this day.

So what has changed in this world that people don’t understand the difference between play and reality anymore?