2017

Tonight’s Halloween Party

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Our hosts – Dianne and Floyd, Allison with her Papa’s guitar, Kate surprised us by #1 driving down from Indianapolis & #2 red hair rather than her recent blue, and there were many cute kids of all ages including “Michael Jackson.”  We missed Charlotte and Elizabeth and several of our other regulars tonight. 

OK, that’s it, no more Halloween talk. . . . at least not for a long, long, time. All I had to do was put on that lame tee shirt and I’m still tired! 

Hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween, too. 

NOW

Halloween 21st Century Upgrade

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In 1999 Dianne married Floyd Bynum and soon after they began to host a Halloween party each year.  They sensationally exceed anything we did back back in the day.        

Their Open House is always decorated inside and out with lights, color, frightful moving objects and sounds. They create original costumes and outdo themselves with festive and sometimes scary food. 

Since the party is always on Halloween night regardless of the day that falls on, we get to enjoy Trick or Treaters who come to the door in droves. I love to see the kids of all ages with creative costumes ranging from preschoolers dressed as their favorite cartoon characters to teens, sometimes dressed as TV personalities or political figures.

This annual party is for friends, neighbors, and relatives of all ages. When October begins I start looking forward to what imaginative invitation will be received. These are a few of my favorites. 

Some of my costumes over the years have included a bag lady, “cereal” killer, camouflaged hunter and the wolf who ate Grandma, but these days I make do with a Halloween tee.  Speaking of costumes here are just a few: 

 

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If there was a prize it would have to go to Kate as Garden Statue from “Dr. Who”          Photo by Allison Puckett

 

 

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Kate as Corpse Bride                              Photo by Allison Puckett

 

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Photo by Allison Puckett

 

 

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Elizabeth as Cleopatra

 

It’s a little late to plan a big party this year, but if you are not tired of Halloween you have through Sunday, November 5 this year to take in the Louisville Jack O Lantern Spectacular at Iroquois Park. I promise you that it is worth the effort. The display of artistic pumpkin carving must be seen to be believed. Check it out! http://www.jackolanternlouisville.com

                             Jack O Lantern Photos by Allison Puckett

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE ! ! !

THEN

Halloween Then

Country in the 40s

The earliest memory I have of Halloween was when we still lived on Crooked Creek. Trick or Treating had not been heard of back then, or at least not in rural Anderson County. I am surprised to recall going to a Halloween Party at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church. I have no idea whether this was a regular event because I only remember that one. Even some adults were dressed in costumes or “false faces” which is what we called masks. I told my mother that I wanted to dress up as Nancy, a little girl in the daily comics. I always looked for Nancy in my grandfather’s paper, but only after he had finished all the sections. I learned very young that nobody messed with Pappy’s Courier-Journal which he read each day from the front page to the back.

 

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Nancy By Ernie Bushmiller 

 

My mom agreed and I have no idea what we came up with for a costume. All I remember is, and this part is hauntingly vivid, she hung a sign around my neck that read simply “Nancy.”

Town in the 50s

We moved to Taylorsville when I was around seven years old, and I’m not sure Mom was any more creative by then, but I certainly recall being introduced to the Trick or Treat tradition by my new friends. What a dream come true that a bunch of kids could put on false faces and go from house to house for hours collecting free candy! This town life was proving to be incredible! Such innocence.

The Burbs During the 60s

As we all know, time passes swiftly and soon I was the mother of kids to dress up for Halloween. Raymond and I lived in a new subdivision in Jeffersontown and it was the perfect place for our two young daughters to go out begging for treats. What fun we all had! In our family, Halloween became a time almost as celebrated as Christmas. We planned ahead, decorated, stocked up on candy to hand out and of course let our girls decide who or what they wanted to be on that scary night. Their dad and I would take turns going out with the Trick or Treaters or staying at home to hand out treats to the many children who rang our doorbell.

After a very long search today I was able to locate and scan pictures of Dianne and Allison on two of those years when they were still quite young. It is interesting to note that the oldest, Dianne, dressed up as a princess both years. Do we see a pattern here?

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Amid all these happy memories one particular Halloween stands out that went awry. Our youngest, Allison, who was always quite . . . we’ll say, “active”, ran toward a neighbor’s door, tripped over a bike and ended we up at the old Kosair Children’s hospital where she received a few stitches in her chin. For years she showed off the scar as a badge of her fierceness.

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In a few years, innocence gave way to suspicion and worry, after reports began to surface regarding all kinds of perverted “tricks” being played by adults. The TV news warned of poisons and sharp objects being imbedded into candy and other treats. At that point, parents began to ban eating anything collected until they had carefully examined each item. It even came to the point where local hospitals were x-raying the treat bags as a free service. In spite of this Halloween has survived and is still a fun time for most families with small children.

The truth is, we like to scare and be scared. We like a time to pretend we are someone or something else, maybe someone daring like a superhero or frightening such as a vampire or serial killer.

Did you Trick or Treat as a child? If so, what was your favorite costume or memory?

WINDS of CHANGE

“Change is going to happen, just as the wind is going to blow.” 

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How to live in The Winds of Change 

When I was a kid I could make a phone call on a rotary pay phone for a dime. As I got older it went up to a quarter. Long distance phone calls whether from home or a phone booth were very expensive and required the help of an operator. For you younger readers an operator was a person, nearly always female, who physically plugged in connections to your party. 

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Do you have a rain barrel at your home? I don’t expect many, if any at all, will respond “yes” to that question, but I have seen one or two in recent years as homeowners become more green. When I was a little girl we had rain barrels to collect water used for washing clothes. That water was filled with “wiggle-tails”  (insects) which swam around jerkily near the top of the water. Looking back I strongly suspect they metamorphosed, i.e., changed, into mosquitoes. I also vaguely remember having a baby duck which I let swim round and round in a rain barrel until it grew too big. 

One day I was upset that my older brother and his friends were swimming in one of our farm ponds and I wasn’t allowed to join them. I don’t remember being given a reason but would bet it had to do with being too young or more likely, being a girl. So, my Mom’s answer to my unhappiness was to lift me over into a rain barrel and order me to “Play and have fun” while she watched to be sure I didn’t drown. Is it any wonder that I remain a non-swimmer to this day? 

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Pixabay

 

Please bear with me for one more example of change from my childhood. My maternal grandmothers cooked everything from scratch. My paternal grandmother (Grandmother) milked her own cow morning and night and made butter from part of the milk. My maternal grandmother (Mammy) even picked the nut meat for baking out of walnuts and hickory nuts that she gathered from her yard. I recall hearing her sharing a recipe once and the only part that I remember is that she said to “Add lard about the size of a hen egg.” I wish I had been inquisitive enough to ask whether other of her recipes, which were never written down, might have required a different size egg, e.g., a goose egg or perhaps a bantam egg?

SUMMARY: Over the past few weeks, we have looked at change in various ways.

  1. Is change good?
  2. Is it inevitable?
  3. Do we basically stay the same in spite of the changes we experience around us?

Several readers have commented about the aspects of change you find either uncomfortable or reassuring. 

THE ANSWER: is blowing in the wind, my friend. It is blowing in the wind. Please listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G58XWF6B3AA

And, what does this mean to you? Are we part of the answer? Are we helpless, buffeted endlessly by the winds of change? Bob Dylan, one of my favorite musicians, by the way, is ambivalent therefore the interpretation is up to each of us.

Katherine Whitehorn* made this significant point worth remembering: “The wind of change, whatever it is, blows most freely through an open mind …”

 

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“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”  William Arthur Ward

 

*British journalist, writer, and columnist born in 1928. She was known to be a keen observer of the changing role of women.

Part 4 of 4

Theme photo by Pixabay

 

CHANGE TRIVIA

“Things don’t have to change the world to be important.” Steve Jobs

It doesn’t take an investigative mind to prove that change happens regularly before our very eyes and ears. Some changes are significant but many are trivial. I suppose my mind today is on the latter, but I really want to share with you some observations. I’m curious whether you have observed the same changes. 

Here are some questions for you:

1. Have you noticed that many celebrities when introduced on TV programs now walk onto the stage applauding, apparently, for themselves? Surely that is a fairly recent habit. 

2. What about the experts interviewed on news or talk shows who when asked their opinion begin their response with “so” and then proceed? So, when did this trend begin and does anyone think it adds to the information provided?

Words are inanimate so they do not have the power to change, but we at times change their pronunciation for no obvious reason. The first time I noticed this was during the Vietnam War. Out of the blue, that country was pronounced differently for a while. 

Let me make clear that I am not talking about the mispronunciation of words. I have the utmost empathy in such circumstances since it has never been a personal strong suit. I don’t know if teachers still have students read aloud in class, but back (way back) in my day it was expected. Like it was yesterday, I recall my humiliation standing in front of the class and reading in Ms. Miller’s fourth grade. Suddenly I came to a big word that I had not encountered before but I forged ahead and read, “She was deter-mind-ed to succeed.” 

3. Have you noticed the different pronunciation of any of these words over time? Is there a big authority somewhere who arbitrarily one day simply proclaims, “We will henceforth pronounce __________ differently!”?

WORD

ORIGINAL

CHANGE

Vietnam

vee-et-nahm vee-et-nam

harassment

huh-ras-ment har-uhs-ment

divisive

dih-vagy-siv di-vis-iv

Appalachia

ap-uh-ley-chee-uh ap-uh-lach-ee-uh

Chili

Chil-lee Chil-lay

Please share some of your own observations with us. 

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Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world.

For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.    

Margaret Mead

Part 3 of 4

Photo by Pixabay

 

CHANGE vs. SAME

Change vs. Same

You have heard the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

This epigram has been running through my mind because we are discussing the subject of change. On its face, it does not seem to be true. Change is all around us from daily chores to possibly even the climate of planet Earth. 

One thing that has changed in past few decades is the ease with which we can do research. I must be honest and say that if I had had to go to a library and flip through a card catalog I would have been less interested in the origin of this saying, but access to the internet, being at the tip of my fingers, I quickly learned that it is attributed to Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr. He was a writer born in Paris, France in 1808 who apparently believed that change does not affect life in any permanent way. Do you agree? Do we, as a people, a society, stay essentially the same in spite of the changes around us? Are there basic beliefs that we hold regardless of the change that we experience?

While considering how true Karr’s long-lived statement might be I was surprised to learn that it has had a significant influence on music across many genres.  Just a few examples are work by Kenny Chesney, Jon Bon Jovi, Machine Head, and rappers Ludacris and Jay Z. Here is an example in some lyrics from “Put Your Records On”  written by Corinne Bailey Rae, et al. 

“Three little birds sat on my window, And they told me I don’t need to worry, Summer came like cinnamon, so sweet, Little girls, double-dutch on the concrete, Maybe sometimes we got it wrong, but it’s all right, The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same”

All right, I acknowledge this music connection proves nothing except that perhaps it works well with rhythm and rhyme.

Change is undeniable, but the last part, “the more things stay the same” is more debatable. When I was young, I remember I-65 being completed and riding with my grandfather (Pappy Sea) to Elizabethtown to visit relatives. The new road was great, straight and smooth, but it didn’t change Pappy’s driving habits. He still thought that his new-fangled turning signals, i.e. “blinkers,” were there to alert other drivers that he intended to change lanes. He didn’t look in his mirrors for other cars, just as he did not on country roads back in Anderson County.

Things Stay the Same

What other examples are there that things do indeed stay the same in spite of change? Some that come to my mind are: Status of women, inequality of people of color, animal cruelty, world hunger, weather disasters, gun deaths in the U.S. 

Realizing that I am coming close to violating my own “no politics rule,” I am trying to think of more positive examples so here are a few: cuteness of kittens and puppies, innocence of children, beauty of sunsets, sweetness of babies, sound of ocean waves, fragrance of roses, crispness of autumn leaves, silence of falling snow.

More to come!

 

We change, but do we change?

Collage

Part 2 of 4

 

Photos by Pixabay

 

CHANGE

Change Happens

Depending on our age we may have seen tremendous changes in our lifetime. I doubt that change is as evident to younger adults or that they have time to give it much consideration in their busy lives. As a retired person though, I have time to contemplate such trivial topics. This subject came to me yesterday as I walked past a soccer game and observed young parents dividing their attention between their kids playing on the field and the screens of their smartphones. I thought back many years to when I watched my children playing and while my mind may have wandered (ok, it did wander) I would not have been distracted by an electronic device as we are today. As I continued walking it dawned on me that because of these ubiquitous phones we no longer need to wear a watch, although we are likely to be wearing an activity tracker that includes the time along with our number of steps, miles, heart rate and other data. The same is true of alarm clocks, maps, calculators, newspapers, cameras and so much more made redundant by this one small gadget.

I might have first genuinely appreciated the changes that a lifetime can hold while talking to my stepfather when I was fifty or so and he was in his eighties. We were in the milking barn at his dairy farm and he was sitting comfortably in a leather recliner watching an automatic feeding system advance food to each cow patiently waiting in her stanchion. As the conveyor belt moved food and hay down the length of his modern barn I recalled my childhood seeing my father in his small barn where he did everything by hand including milking each cow twice a day. This was change, this was progress, but it still made me a little sad.

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Is change Good?

Overall, change is good though, right? For the most part, I believe that it is, but we cannot deny that with progress has come loss. In my own lifetime, certain things come to mind that I wish I could experience again, for example not only being with Dad as he worked the farm, but wading in Crooked Creek with its sandy bottom and creepy crawfish, swinging with my cousin, Pat, on our grandparents front porch, riding my bike all over town with my best friend, Jeanie. Those years of innocence and discovery are the ones I miss most from my youth. I also miss the simplicity of my daughters’ childhoods growing up in a subdivision filled with other young families where they played outdoors with friends and each day held new experiences. We cannot go back, but I am grateful for memories of each phase of life. I may be through making scrapbooks, but I’m not through making memories even though they are peppered with jokes about age, lamenting the loss of height and trying to keep up with medical appointments.

I refuse to be intimidated by change, by technology or by the things that have been lost over time. Change may not always be welcome, but it is inevitable.

How about you? What are your thoughts about change? Again, more to come!

“The secret of change is to focus all of yor energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”  Socrates

 

Part 1 of 4

 

Photos by Pixabay

Seasons

“The coming and going of the seasons give us more than the springtimes, summers, autumns, and winters of our lives. It reflects the coming and going of the circumstances of our lives like the glassy surface of a pond that shows our faces radiant with joy or contorted with pain.” Gary Zukav

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Inertia

When I ended the last post I stated “more to come!” with an exclamation point no less. I was excited to go forward and begin our second year in Crooked Creek, but that was three weeks ago. There are times that no inspiration comes. I want to write but cannot seem to start, much less complete anything meaningful. It is not that I do not have ideas or opinions (you know I have opinions), but that I am overcome by inertia. That is the best way I know to describe my chronic depression. It is a bit like I imagine being stuck in quicksand would be, wanting desperately to move, but not being able. Something very powerful holds me back with arms of steel. I know I need to act, to move but it is extremely difficult to do and so much easier to sleep instead. During these past few weeks, I have not taken my daily walks at the park that I enjoyed all summer. It is not possible to explain the reason, or whether there is a reason. Every single act takes all the power I possess, whether it is to prepare food, interact with friends or show up for appointments. Daily life is fatiguing during these times as is the effort of trying to appear as though nothing is wrong. 

A few close friends and of course, family members are aware of this lifelong struggle. I share it with you (readers) today in the hope that it will benefit you or someone you know. If you live with clinical depression please know that you are not alone. If someone you care about is depressed perhaps this will help you to understand their actions or lack thereof. Their lethargy, their cancellations, their lifelessness when you feel they should be excited has nothing to do with you. If they see their doctors and counselors and take prescribed medication then they are trying and likely to get better. Depression cycles, sometimes triggered by external events, but often without obvious reason. 

Seasons

Speaking of cycles, I find it hard to believe that it is October! Can you believe summer is over and we are well into autumn? The past couple of days I did some walking in my neighborhood but found it not worth the effort. Today I returned to my beloved Pope Lick in the Parklands and what a difference it made. Since I was last there flowers have changed, grasses have dried and leaves have fallen. I glimpsed only a couple of very small butterflies. A tiny squirrel was the only animal to show its face and I don’t think that was on purpose, but because of the necessity of gathering for the coming winter. The golden finches seem to be gone. Walnuts are ripe and thumping to the ground below. 

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The cool breeze and temperatures in the 60s made walking in the sunshine so easy. Before I knew it I had walked almost 3.5 miles and I was not particularly tired. It is important for me to remember today’s walk and the inspiration that being in nature provided. For me, it was more invigorating than a massage or one of those healthy kale smoothies or even church. Winter is coming, but the sky is still blue, the air is refreshing and there are weeks of majesty ahead before the next season which will have its own splendor. 

Finally, I must remember with Tom Brokaw, “In the seasons of life, I have had more than my share of summers.”

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“Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.”                                        Sarah Ban Breathnach

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If you desire more information about depression you may want to read this blog post by John Pavlovitz: http://johnpavlovitz.com/2017/05/10/one-reason-to-keep-living-fighting-depression/