10

Shorter Than A Yardstick, Taller Than A Tree

     Not every family tree has a giant.  But ours did.  I remember when I first met him.  I was five and shorter than a yardstick.  He was the biggest creature I had ever stood next to.  His knees were higher than my head and to say I was scared would be an understatement.  You’ve heard that someone can be so frightened, they wet their pants?  Well, not quite, but it certainly wouldn’t have taken much more to push me to that point.

     I used to think that Aunt Bess must have searched the entire earth to find a giant to marry.  Even when I had reached my full height potential of five feet, he was enormous.  Standing a full 6’8″, my uncle could easily have done damage without even realizing it.  But his manner was so gentle and he was so easy-going that I learned to love him as much as anyone else in my family; truth be told, a little more than some.   But that’s another story.

     Uncle Goliath (no, not his real name, but appropriate, don’tcha’ think?) used to like to hand out silver dollars.  He actually started that practice before he married Aunt Bess.  Whenever we hadn’t seen him in awhile, he’d flash that impish grin, reach into his pockets and say, “Now, I wonder what I might find in these pockets?”

     Then, one at a time, he’d pull out a silver dollar and hand it to one of us children.  We never knew who would be next to receive the huge coin, but we always knew he had one for each of us.  In those days, silver money was quite common.  Dimes, quarters, half-dollars and dollars were all made from silver and it never occurred to any of us to save them for another day.  No, we quickly rushed to the closest candy store and traded our silver treasure for something sweet and little more palatable.

     I often think about my dear uncle and wish I could have just one more hug from him.  He gave the best hugs.  I know I’ll see him again, but some days I think how nice it would be if we could just sit and chat for awhile.

     I also have an Uncle David; certainly not a giant.  Someday, I’ll tell you the story of David and Goliath.  We have many stories of interest in our family tree, as I’m sure you do, too.  I do hope you are taking the time to record those family tales for your children and their children ’cause no one else knows ’em like you do.

     Until the next time, keep a hug on.

 ~ Yaya

12

Look’it I Can Do!

     I do love discoverin’ new things.  First, there’s the whole thing of findin’ that there’s somethin’ you never even knew existed AND it will do things that you always wanted to do.  Then, you get to flip through those virtual pages and dream about how nice it would be to make that clever toy do… THIS.  Ooooooh!  That’s soooooo cool.  Next, you think, “Well, I wonder if it could do… THAT?”  In fact, I’ve been known to fantasize over a desired treasure for hours, days… even months, often knowing that I would never own said treasure.  *sigh*

     Oh, the joys of wishin’ and hopin’ and plannin’ and dreamin’…  Wait a minute!  Haven’t I heard those words in a song?  Oh, yeah.  heheh.  Sorry ’bout that.  Now, what was I talkin’ ’bout?  Let’s see; I was wishin’ and hopin’.  Then, came the plannin’ and dreamin’.  No, no!  That wasn’t it.  Somethin’ ’bout a toy that I wanted… Oh, yeah!  That was it.  A new toy!

     So, there I was, flippin’ through those virtual pages and havin’ so much fun with all the things that wunnerful treasure could do when lo and behold, right outta’ the blue… POOF!  I found myself with pen in hand (aka, mouse) and at the controls of SO. MUCH. FUN.

     Here; lemme’ show you.  Watch this:

     Cool, eh?  No?  You wanna’ see more?  Okie-dokie; how ’bout this one?
     There’s more.  Yeah; I haven’t even told you the good part… You can do this, too!  Jus’ go here:  Maze Creator and check out alla’ the fun stuff they have.  This is sooooooo muuuuuch fuuuuun.  There are several options and you are jus’ gonna’ love it.  It is sooooooo Cool Beans!
     Although I was partially compensated in trying this program out, if I had known how much fun it was gonna’ be, I woulda’ owned it a long, long time ago.  My grandies are gonna’ loooooove all the fun I can create for ’em.
     Until the next time, keep a hug on.
 ~ Yaya
3

When Girls Hafta’ Be Boys

     When I was very, very small, I somehow came to the conclusion that I had a mission in life; to protect my little brother.  He was three and a half years younger and for some unknown reason, I felt that my whoooooooole purpose in life was to make sure that he survived with as few lumps, bumps and bruises as possible.  I am a very dedicated person.  Once I decide that I have a responsibility, there isn’t much that can stop me from fulfilling that responsibility.

     I don’t know how my little brother figured out that I felt this way, it might have been my big mouth, but he seemed to find interesting ways to torment me into making sure he was safe at all times and in all places.  Of course since he was human and a boy, there were times when fights and injuries were a natural process of life.  I tried to keep ahead of them, but even I knew that I couldn’t protect him all the time.

     Then, there were those other times; you know what I mean… when he would taunt someone just enough to get them to come after him.  That wouldn’t have been so bad, but he always ran to me and they almost always followed.

     Now, I kinda’ like to think of myself as a peace-loving person.  I’ve never liked fighting, arguments, disagreements or even unsettling discussions.  I could be perfectly happy if everyone in the world just always got along, ya’ know?   But that was not to be; my little brother needed to be protected.

     Such was the case one day when he came running, yelling, “She’s gonna’ kill me!”  Then, he promptly ran inside and locked the door… with me, outsideCute!

     Sure enough, not far behind was a little girl about my age, heck-bent on doing damage to another human being… and I was the only human in sight.  Well, as I said, I felt that my main purpose in life was to protect my little brother.  Seeing so much anger directed at him was enough to ignite the fire in me on his behalf.

     Before I realized what was happening, I found myself at the bottom of a huge oak tree, calling up to the previously angry little girl, “Come down and fight like a man!”

     When it was all over and the girl had promised to go home peacefully in exchange for me not pummeling her, I exacted my own kind of revenge on my little brother.  In retrospect, I’ve often wondered if my methods for exacting revenge might have been the reason he sicced the dogs on me, so to speak.  As it turned out, that one day was the exception to the rule.  Most of the time, I did not fare so well.  In fact, I generally went away with plenty of evidence to the contrary.  Maybe if I had been kinder to my little brother, he would have been kinder to me.

     Thank goodness we have developed a much healthier and friendly relationship.  I believe it may have a lot to do with the fact that I am still here and telling this story, today.  Remind me to tell you about the day I realized he was gonna’ pass me up in size.  Now, that’s a story that will throw fear and trembling into the heart of any older sibling.

     Until the next time, keep a hug on.

 ~ Yaya

21

You Want Me To WHAT?!?

     When I first married, I was quite surprised to learn that I had married a pioneer.  Oh, yes.  He liked gardening.  I don’t mean the kinda’ gardening like my mama used to do; roses.  No, we moved around so much that the only gardening I ever recall her doin’ was up to three rose bushes.  Naturally, I grew up with a rather slanted view of gardening.

     Then, I got married.  Our apartment was in the midst of several businesses, with a parking lot taking up the bulk of everything in the center; our part of the parking lot, included.  Our asphalt front yard (aka parking lot) was soon transformed by the addition of seemingly tons of rich black dirt and worms; the fishin’ kind.  I thought that was interesting because if you had asked me what the makings of a good garden were, I’m sure I woulda’ told you Potting Soil.  Who knew that a garden could be started in plain ol’ ordinary dirt?  Hmph!  Go figure.

     Anyway, I watched as my good hubby-buddy magically changed the lay of the land from ugly black asphalt to beautiful green and luscious plant life; of course, leaving everyone else’s parking areas alone.  But he wasn’t done, yet.  Nope!  As time marched forward, he tended that beautiful garden and treated it like one might treat a beloved pet.  No weed was allowed to linger and people from all those businesses; especially, little old ladies from the beauty shop, often stopped by to admire the yield.  Usually, that meant they also went away with bags full of veggies to take home.  Remember this, as I was somehow oblivious to what was going on, myself.

     Then one day, when it seemed to me that the garden had reached its full capacity, my good hubby-buddy got a wild-hair and suggested that we can summa’ the food from the garden.  Whoa!  I told you that he had a great imagination!  I could hardly wait to see how he was gonna’ put those lids on the cans.

     I waited and watched, but he never even looked at a can.  Nope; he decided to use jars, instead; Mason, Kerr… you’ve prob’ly even seen some.  Interesting.  I accepted his choice, as he seemed to know what he was doing.  When he was finished we had many jars, all lined up on our shelves in a variety of colors and sizes.  It made me feel very married and quite stable, actually.

     Now, here’s where the story takes a decided twist.  One day, about two months after the faux canning incident, I was minding my own business and being a happy little housewife.  Hubby-Buddy evidently felt the need to be funny and said the most ridiculous thing you can imagine.  “Let’s eat some of the food we canned.”
EAT IT?!?  EAT IT?!?  What… was he crazy?  That stuff was in the DIRT!
     Oh, yeah; I hear what you’re thinkin’.  “Where does Yaya think food comes from?”
     Surprisingly, I had even eaten summa’ those veggies, but that was different.  That was when they were fresh off the vine or stalk or whatever.  Once they were in the jars and he suggested eating them, it suddenly occurred to me that all that food had been in the dirt.  Dunno’ why I didn’t think of that, before.
     Well, I guess I had jus’ never thought of that, before.  Strangely enough, all the food I had ever seen, eaten or cooked either came from frozen packages, the produce aisle in the grocery store or cans… not jars.  The only exceptions were soda pop and cleaning supplies.  Now, here was the man I had sworn to spend my life with… my ENTIRE life… suggesting that I eat food from dirt.  What was he thinkin’?!?
     You’ll be happy to learn that after being educated to the true worth of dirt, and some persuasion from my good hubby-buddy, I did finally try the food we had canned… in jars.  It may just surprise you to learn that he was not the only person confused about the difference between cans and jars.  Apparently, there are thousands of people in the world who still can’t tell the difference.
     And I was amazed when I found out that, not only does food grow in dirt… sometimes, with worms, but it can be quite tasty.  I don’t know if you’ve ever considered eating food that was grown in dirt, but if you haven’t I surely hope you will ignore that inner voice of distaste and try it.  I think you’ll like it.
     Until the next time, keep a hug on.
 ~ Yaya
16

Chicken Fishin’

Lemme’ tell you ’bout Capt’n Hook. Maybe you recall summa’ my farm stories an’ maybe you don’t, but I like tellin’ ’em, so if you think you’ve heard this one before, jus’ chalk it up to you havin’ a poor memory or sumptin’. For sure, I wouldn’t be tellin’ the same story over again, now would I?

Once upon a time, we thought we were regular Gentlemen-Farmers; of the Noah’s Ark Variety, you might say. We had summa’ these and a few of those and, naturally, a handful of those animals over there. In fact, we had so many types of two-legged and four-legged critters that it got downright difficult to keep all their names straight, at times. No matter; they all answered to, “HereBaby,” anyway.

Turned out that my favorite animals were the chickens. That is, if you din’t count ALL the other animals on the farm. The fourteen-acre farm.

So, there we were with our couple hun’erd chickens, surrounded by the squeeks, squawks and cacophony of too many contributors when, one day, HereBaby #173 happened to be standing near the watering pan. My good hubby-buddy and one of our sons noticed somethin’ strange, as #173 was not drinking any water, in spite of the extreme heat.

Now, this is where HereBaby #173 acquired a much better name to brag about in the hen house. At closer inspection, our son realized that there had apparently been some fishin’ goin’ on in the chicken yard. See, #173 had found himself the purtiest little fish hook and line you ever did see; well-used an’ kinda’ dirty an’ rusty… like that.

Not bein’ one to leave such a purty object layin’ around, #173 had snatched that ol’ hook up and tried to swallow it, whole. Didn’t work. Seems roosters and fish hooks are not the best companions. Who knew?

So, bein’ the kindhearted souls that they were, Hubby-Buddy and Son set to work rescuin’ that silly rooster. You’re not gonna’ b’lieve what happened next. Gently and carefully, the fellas worked hard to remove the hook from the chicken’s craw, #173 squirmin’ and kickin’, the whole time. That’s when Mother Nature stepped in so’s the guys had a little more control over the situation.

Floomp! Did you know that chickens could faint? No? Well, neither did we; right up until that very moment when it happened. Quickly, before he could recover his senses, the wire cutters were put to good use and the hook was removed… just in time for the Angel Hens to sprinkle Wake-Up Dust over the head of #173.

It jus’ seemed natural to give #173 a new name, under the circumstances, and what better name than Capt’n Hook? He lived up to his title, too. He may not have been a pirate, but he certainly tangled with some villainous critters in his long life; like the fly-by attack from a Chicken Hawk. But that’s a story for another day. Yup! You heard me right. That’s one chicken that lived a long and adventurous life.

‘Course, Capt’n Hook never got cooked with the dumplin’s. He woulda’ been too tough, anyway. Besides, we were kinda’ fond of the ol’ pirate. Sometimes, I think about Capt’n Hook and wonder if he ever does any fishin’.

Until the next time, keep a hug on.

~ Yaya

8

Slap That Little Bull In The Face!

Well, as much as I enjoyed dodging millions of raindrops and watchin’ all those cowboys try to hang onto their bulls, last night, I decided to forego the same for tonight and catch up on some much-needed computer time. I was just the littlest bit relieved when my good hubby-buddy’s friend showed up and wanted to go to the rodeo with him, instead of me havin’ to go.

Oh, I know I would have enjoyed it, had I gone. And I always like spending any kind of time with my good hubby-buddy, but three days of non-stop Going is just a little more than I can handle, anymore. ‘Course, when Hubby-Buddy came home maaaaaaannnny long hours later, I was doubly glad that I had stayed away.

We used to live about a mile from a bull-rider’s school and I got to spend lots of hours (translate that to read Years) watching all those little cowboys learn how to stay on their bulls. No, no! I’m not being disrespectful by talkin’ ’bout all the little cowboys.

Until my first invitation to watch the training, I would’ve thought that was disrespectful, too. Truth is, though, that some of those cowboys can barely see over a full-size sheep. Imagine being that small and going face-to-face with a bull-calf?

Yuh, sure; a calf may not seem that big to you, but how would you feel being told to slap a full-size bull in the face? What?!? You didn’t know that was part of the bull-rider’s training? Oh, yeah! They hafta’ slap their bull in the face to try and get him to lunge at them.

From there, they work their way up, until eventually the cowboy gets to sit on that critter. Yaaaaaay! And you have no idea how much courage it takes summa’ those ol’ boys, before they reach that point. Certainly not something I’d ever wanna’ do.

So, the next time you watch the bull-rides on TV, from the safety of your living room, think about the little boy who chose to ride those bulls so many years ago. Then, say a prayer for his safety. It may have been his choice, but he can still use the help. That’s a lotta’ bull… at any age.

Until the next time, keep a hug on.

~ Yaya

1

Where Are My Pictures?

What a great weekend! Yesterday we got to watch a cattle-drive and feast on trough food. Then, today we got up close and personal with the horses and cows. I mean, we were right There; almost nose to nose, as they came outta’ the chutes!

I want so much to put pictures up on my blog, but Blogger has taken away my ability to do so. Do you know how to get the old blogging capabilities back? I’d really like to do what I used to be able to. You know, back in the day when we could post pictures and put links on our blog? If you know how to fix this, I’d surely appreciate it if you’d tell me.

Anyway, back to the rodeo. There we were, nose to nose with those lovely creatures and I was snappin’ pictures like I would never run outta’ film. Naturally, Murphy’s Law hadda’ step in and mess it up. I shouldn’t complain, I s’pose; I got a lotta’ good shots. But couldn’t my batteries have waited just a couple more hours before dying? *sigh*

For the record, my friend also sent me a picture of the trough and the Cream Cans, cookin’ our food. I can hardly wait to show those to you. So, if you know how to fix this ornery pro’lem with posting pictures on my blog, I’d sure be happy if you’d share with me. Then, I can show you summa’ the fun I’ve been havin’.

Until the next time, keep a hug on.

~ Yaya