Essentially Esther Banner

Saturday, April 07, 2012


Mr. Napoleon…….he came through the winter with flying colors this year. Granted we didn’t have a very bad winter but still for a guy who is nearing eight years old, he’s in very good shape. In that span of time he’s got everyone up and down Shady Lane spoiling him rotten. He has his own little schedule….he flies up in the big oak in our front yard every evening, before dark, and situates himself just so. He has to maneuver his long tail constantly as he hops from one branch to a higher one until he finds his favored one.

In the mornings he does a lot of pruning and then sets about foraging in the yard until he spies someone to visit with. There is one other retired family on our street so he goes there to spend time. He has several favorite resting places around the yard here…….he hates wind so most of his napping is done under a cedar tree and is well hid from view. He likes to snuggle in under the small bushes and maple tree in the berm and does so well, I’m sometimes surprised when I come upon him.

They say animals and the like don’t think. Well….I disagree. When he wants a snack he hops up on the porch and clucks like an old hen. If that doesn’t bring me he “honks” and keeps looking in the window. Of course I have his favorite food, which is peanut butter mixed with dry oatmeal. He never tires of eating it. I mix it and make little marbles out of it. He likes it to roll gently towards him so he can pluck it up and eat it, hands down. He’s actually pretty proud of the way he’s taught me to cater to his eating preferences.

He especially likes it when I’m working in the yard. He and the cats follow along when I’m outside and are content to watch whatever I’m doing. I will soon be into weed pulling. I can’t do that until the flowers are up enough for me to see……..otherwise I would pull them up with the weeds. I’m bothered with wild violets in all my flower beds. They are pretty when blooming but after that they become a pest. However, they are the last ones I pick because they are less a problem than the other weeds.

I usually pull weeds after blooming because they have some saving grace in one way or another. I pick some for the leaves and some for the blooms….it just depends on how they can be used. This year I will have to buy a tool-stool so I can sit when pulling weeds and have the tools right with me. Anyone my age knows that hopping up and down is more of a memory now. But gardening is good for the soul and good for the body……they don’t wear out from working, they wear out when too much sitting on the couch is done. There’s an old saying I believe in…. “use it or lose it”…….it’s true of anything.

Well, I guess I’m getting off track here so I’ll put this year’s picture in of Napoleon and post it for you to see. I hope wherever you are, there are some flowers blooming in your yard……it just isn’t Spring without flowers by the door-step.

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


One thing I can say about Becky, her life has never been boring. March is always a stormy, unsettled month and it seems to have set the pace for her life. She has always had “highs” and “lows” but never the in-betweens.

When she was young, I felt at times I was raising three boys. Her older and younger brothers were usually left in the dust with their backyard activities. But when she decided she wanted to leave the tomboy stuff behind, she grew into a pretty and graceful young woman.

This is her senior high picture. The gateway to bigger things and she was ready for the climb. Becky always had a lot of energy and was blessed with brilliant ideas which she could implement into completion at the drop of a hat. If she was interested in the project, she was unmatched…..but following someone else’s plan always lacked her best efforts. Her reason being if it wasn’t up to standard why put effort into an unworthy project. This began a life of leading the pack.

Becky had several jobs and was well liked no matter what it was. She always saw a way to make it better and more successful. Of course this got the attention of her employer’s and she enjoyed some beneficial advances up the ladder of work.

Her two children and grandchildren are the light of her life. She tried to give them the best hope for the future and opportunities therein. Becky lives next door and is a lot of company to me…….she is usually the life of the party and loves a good time. All it takes is for her to walk into a room and the party is on.

As I write, her employment takes her out of town for the week but when she comes home we will celebrate her 58th year a little late. So Becky, at 1:15 a.m. you came into our lives on this day and we’re so glad you did. Watching your journey has given me a lot of memories and we’ve shared a lot of happy moments together.

Happy Birthday from your Mom…….

Essentially Esther

Monday, March 12, 2012


…….Spring is here. We kept waiting for the other shoe to drop in January and February but I think it’s believable now. The reason being….everything is on time in the yard. The air is fresh and inviting and all of a sudden, I’m thinking about the container plants I want to enjoy this year. I like to try new things and hopefully dry some for the cards I make.

It’s nice to turn off the furnace and open the windows. Sort of inviting the world back into my domain. Neighbors working up and down the street are busy with outdoor projects while I’m cleaning indoors. It is always hard to know which things to pass on and which to keep. There is always the thought, many of us have, that we may need it sometime. Part of my closet is full of things I never wear and I’m telling myself they must go this time.

I wasn’t born during the Great Depression but I was raised by parents who were. We wore the few clothes we had until they were rags or someone in the family passed things on to us. I always said I wore three sizes growing up. Too big, just right and too little.

I grew up with women who scraped the paper when a new stick of butter was used. I wonder how many kids hung around the kitchen table while their mother’s whipped up a cake and then gave them the spoon and bowl to finish the last little bit. It was as good as candy to me.

My brother and I had to take turns and we were pretty careful to remember whose turn it was. He was older by four years and could out-talk me every time. Once I was waiting for the bowl and he came at the opportune moment to claim his prize. Sure, enough, he talked me into believing it was his turn.

Mom didn’t say anything but let it play out. Louis took a swipe around the bowl with the spoon and took a big slurp. As soon as it hit his tongue he gagged and spit out, “cornbread!! Mom chuckled and said, “I knew it was Esther’s turn and I would have told her it was cornbread, but since you talked her out of it I decided to let you find out the hard way.”

Just one of Life’s little lessons growing up with a big brother.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I heard a terrible thing on our local news last night. Three teen-age boys were caught beating animals to death. I don’t know any other particulars but they were showing a goat on TV. I would assume animals small enough to beat on without being large enough to retaliate.

I know I harp on the plight of mistreated animals a lot so you know what’s coming. You may stop here or go on. We are required to treat our animals with dignity, food, water and safe surroundings. This isn’t the ASPA or any other organization. It’s from the Bible. Again, if you don’t want to hear about the Bible….stop here.

We will be judged for the way we treat our animals. We will be judged for the way we work for our employer and how we treat those who may work for us. None of this is hard to understand and for those of you who are not concerned about what the Bible says, you may be part of the problem, as they say.

In our Southern part of the State there have been a lot of cattle rustling. There is always an isolated case of such but with the economy like it is there have been more frequent reports. And this isn’t the only sad state of affairs for animal cruelty. A large plant has been built to slaughter horses just a few miles up the road. Canada and Mexico are big buyers and so the poor equines who have been stranded on farm property with AWOL owners end up for slaughter. They have been starved and in terrible shape and their reward for clinging to life is the slaughter industry.

It doesn’t make me mad, it just makes me terribly sad. I believe in the dignity of animals. I treat mine with respect. I know they aren’t people and don’t think like people. They are cats, a dog and a peacock. As we don’t always understand how to live correctly for God, they, likewise, don’t always know how to react to what we expect of them.

I’m not a tree-hugger nor am I one who throws paint on someone wearing a fur coat. I just have a love for animals. Because of that I have tried to save any stray who comes hungry and scared to my door. If you’ve ever been alone, hungry and scared you know the feeling and the fear.

May God grant that some day man will realize animals are a creation and give so much back to the ones of us who care about them. In the world to come I know this will be the way it is…………….

Essentially Esther

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


People come in and out of our lives during different stages of our journey. Some are brief and for some reason we lose touch. For quite a few years, America was on the move. We had neighbors move in and out on our street fairly often. Finally, I was the one to leave.

When we leave a neighborhood, there’s so much we think we will never miss. From rocks in a flower garden, to the neighbors who became friends, I expected things would go on much the same. I am not a professional “mover.” Therefore I had no idea how things left behind would become more precious and troubling as well.

As I think about it, I have only had two moves of some distance but with the last one, my intent was to never move again. The operative word there is “intent”…….I know it is folly to say “never” but it has now been forty-one years since moving on this little acre.

Computers help keep us in touch with family and friends as do cell-phones. However, today I had a letter from a dear friend that came out of the snail-box. My friend and I laugh and say we’re old fashioned and I know we are, but having a letter out of the mailbox was special, no matter what we are.

We have held the world in our arms and never flinched………..

Essentially Esther

Thursday, February 02, 2012


How long has it been since you met a car and no one was talking on a cell-phone? When first introduced, cell-phones were helpful in many ways to those in need of them. They seldom found their way to those who didn’t see them as necessary. I am one who doesn’t like a lot of gadgets. Therefore, cell-phones didn’t interest me at the time.

How many hours a day are you free of sound contamination? From the time most of us get up until we fall in bed, we are beleaguered with sounds of every kind. I see joggers and bike riders with head-phones. Once outdoor activities were an opportunity to do some thinking or just letting our minds flatten out a little.

I think behind it all is my reluctance to change. I grew up and lived in an entirely different world. One day my generation woke up and all the rules were changed. I have always loved elderly people and history. Maybe I got lost in there somewhere. At any rate it was possible to be quiet, to have quiet and to respect others space about noisemaking devises. Cars didn’t go by with sound so loud it made the car shake.

I enjoy sports but the crowd noise makes me crazy. Malls are caverns of racket and voices echoing up and down the main walkways. Noise on every side in this day and age seem to make people stressed and anxious. Just so you know this isn’t all me talking, take notice and count your quiet times for one day ……you might be surprised.

It seems silence is the next endangered object to leave us.

Essentially Esther

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Winter seems reluctant to come to us. In December we had some flurries but not enough to cover the ground. We had a couple of cold snaps but nothing sustained as a winter normally has. The common talk around is that we’ll get winter in February and March…..just right for freezing ice and sleet. We are in an area where it’s too warm for snow but rain coming down hangs onto the upper reaches and just perfect for tree breakage and power outage.

What really hurts is when the trees and power-lines are loaded down with ice and the wind comes up. It’s possible to hear cracking and thumping from night into daylight when the damage is evident. Most of us wait to hear if the furnace comes on or not…..that tells the tale.

Otherwise the month of January has pretty well been normal as normal is, and it’s a time when I can sort and throw, clean out, rearrange and give away. We all have things we don’t wear, don’t use and/or don’t want. It helps others to take it to a distribution center and get it out for someone else who feels blessed to receive it.

Winter is a time to slow down and take stock of where we’ve been and where we want to be. I’m a list person and I can pick and choose what I want to do on a certain day…..I usually do the worst first. Then the rest is all down-hill. Does anyone iron anymore?

I had a FW this week talking about all the things that were once common-place in a household. One item was a pop bottle sitting on the ironing board with a cork and metal stopper which had holes in the top. One child thought it was going to be used for a salt shaker. Well, folks my age know immediately it is the “sprinkler” bottle that Mom’s used to dampen clothes and household items for ironing.

The loftiness of the dryers and the fabrics that don’t need ironing have pretty well gotten rid of the sprinkler bottle…….as well as the ironing board, along with it. If we need to press something it is a steam iron which makes its own moisture.

How well I remember the basket full of white shirts to be ironed and most all of our wearable clothing. At times I would procrastinate until the ironing would mildew. Then they have to be washed again. If you’re lucky enough to catch it before it mildews…..a great way to postpone the job was to put it in a freezer or refrigerator.

Yes, things are a lot different today and when we look back to the early days of managing a household it’s a glance back to life that by today’s standards is akin to bouncing along in a Conestoga wagon headed West. I guess it is certainly easier in a lot of ways which gives time to do something other than housework but somehow there is a nostalgia factor that makes me proud of “the way it was.”

Essentially Esther