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Sunday, October 23, 2005


For John…….written August 1975

Oh Lord, I do not pray for wealth
nor do I pray for ease,
I can’t be happy if I’m idle
or doing what I please.
How can I sing the victor’s song
until I’ve survived the fight?
How can the light of day shine forth
without the dark of night?
Don’t give me a sea that’s placid
with never an angry wave,
How would I ever really know
if the ship I sail is brave?
There’s many a stormy wind to blow
and many a tree will fall,
But only when we’ve held our ground
can we know if we’re big or small.
Don’t let me whimper or run away
let me stand with the brave and best,
With never a thought for what I may lose
I give myself daily to test.
Oh God, I may fail, but please let me try
for to achieve without effort is shame,
I honor you more if I’ve endured the worst
and still can praise your sweet name.

This is in honor of Ben, Ellen and you…….although I wrote it long ago.

Love you….and congratulations on a run “well done”…………….mom

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Well, things are shaping up to introduce a new family member soon. Becky will at last become a grandmother and I shall step up to be a great-grandmother. That’s pretty amazing, considering I’m only 39.

Along with all the flurry about that, Jennifer and husband Marc, also George are all coming for a week’s visit. They will arrive on Sunday and will be leaving the next Friday and Saturday……in different directions. Becky and I will feed and sleep everyone and by then I know we will be checking in on the new baby along with our other points of interest.

I am, of course, busy getting meals planned and doing as much as I can ahead on that. The baking is first and then the rest. Leaves are falling now in serious numbers and it is looking very much like Fall after summer temperatures all month.

Rocky and I have completed redecorating the kitchen and have begun on the living room. This will all be on hold until after our company leaves. With all of this in the works, I will be taking a sabbatical from Essentially Esther until Tuesday November 4th. I will drive Becky to (hopefully) the last orthopedic appointment on Monday the 3rd so it will be the last of our doctor, lunch and shopping fun for a while. With the holidays coming up that will probably be a good thing.

Have a good weekend, week beyond and I’ll catch up with you later on. I wish you all a happy Fall season………

Until then,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

JUNE 20TH TO AUGUST....1998 

Have I ever mentioned how bull-headed I am? My boys have a clue but Becky sees it in action most of the time. One day I woke up to the fact that it was time to take over my own ship. Kind of a personal mutiny…..most of my life I tried to please everyone and go to great lengths to make sure everyone was happy with me.

When this mysterious pain showed up and wouldn’t go away, I decided to outlast it. Becky kept saying she thought I should go find out what the trouble was but I wasn’t having it. No sir. Once an Andersen gets their head on crooked it stays that way to prove we aren’t dominated.

Along with the pain and disability came other problems which I ignored. Each day I laboriously went about my tasks as my condition became more severe and showed no signs of leaving. The first part of July Becky and I drove to Shawnee and picked George up to go to Blair with us. I had wanted to visit my birthplace and relatives for some time and George and Becky went along with my invitation. Thankfully, George drove all the way. The three of us got mixed up on the signs around Omaha and found ourselves going across the Missouri River from Iowa into Nebraska………George managed to get us turned around and on the right road on north to Missouri Valley where we correctly crossed the bridge into Blair. We had a good laugh out of it, anyway.

We drove to my Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Roger’s home where we were greeted warmly. They have a pretty home and beautiful landscaping on the property of the old Stricklett home place. We sat on the deck and enjoyed a cool drink and caught up on family news. Aunt Phyllis had a delicious meal and later in the evening, Joy (their daughter) and her husband, Dan, came over to visit. They own grandma’s house and have renovated and redecorated in good taste to preserve the basic structure. Both are very talented and have improved the landscape remarkably.

We fell into bed and woke the next morning to the smell of coffee. Uncle Roger was doing the honors and made pancakes for breakfast. Later we took a tour of the town where I spent a lot of my young years…..I took pictures of the school where I, my mother and her siblings attended, the church, the Court House, the City Swimming Pool at the Park where I went every chance I got…..and we ended up at the cemetery, where the forbearer’s of the Stricklett family were buried. We went back to the house for lunch and then a tour of Joy’s garden….absolutely beautiful.

My cousin, Bruce, his children, then Aunt Sally and other cousins, Joyce, and Mark and family arrived. We had quite a small reunion going and then cousin Roger Phillip and family came, Julie, and Joy and Dan walked over. Uncle Roger went to the local Deli and picked up food enough for everyone and we ate picnic style in Joy and Dan’s patio garden. The evening was spent eating and laughing over old times and catching up on the new.

We had to leave the next day but Uncle Roger and Aunt Phyllis drove as far as Omaha with us where we met their son, Roger Phillip and family for dinner. It was a nice end to a perfect weekend and I will always cherish the visit and pictures I have to look back on. George drove on the trip back to Kansas City and once there we met friends of George and Becky’s at our favorite Shawnee Pizza Shop then convened to George’s where the fun continued. I gave up and went to bed…..I had been living on pain pills and was physically worn out after all we crammed into a few days.

By mid-July I was beginning to weaken on my stance of avoiding a doctor’s visit. I relented and at least made a phone call to his nurse. I told her of my two bouts with heat exhaustion earlier and made a convincing case because she volunteered that it “might” be symptomatic. I took that to mean I didn’t have anything serious going on. Later, John, Barb, L.J. and a friend of his, Roy, stopped overnight on their way to take the boys to basketball camp at KU. We had a good visit and got up early the next morning to get them on their way.

I threw in the towel and called for an appointment to see Dr. Powell. I was sick and tired of pain and other problems. When I told him what had been going on……..he immediately made an appointment for a Colonoscopy and didn’t give me a chance to talk him out of it. He had good support from Becky, who accompanied me. I was to drink four liters of “stuff” after fasting all day. I was not only hungry but drinking that amount of something that wasn’t exactly a dining experience took all the effort I could muster. Becky stayed with me till it was all gone….I suspect she thought I’d pour it down the drain.

Living 80-miles away from the hospital required getting up at 4:00a.m. to make my check-in time by 6:30. Becky drove and I tried not to think about how good a cup of coffee would taste. Once there, I was taken immediately to a small room and the experience began. I had always been the observer…..now I was the patient. I was going to have my day in the sun at long last. As I lay on the bed I looked at Becky who was sitting on the chair by my bed and said, “This is different…..me in bed and you on the chair…..” she gave me a look like, “yah….now you’re going to see how much fun all of this is”…….I didn’t like her look….this might not be that much fun.

In short order I was wheeled down the hall past flapping doors and found myself looking into the face of Dr. Miller standing over me. After a quick introduction he asked me to roll over on my side so I could be given a mild sedative. It was lights out, instantly. I woke up in the room with Becky waiting for me to come around so I could take juice and get dressed. I was feeling good about the whole experience….I didn’t know a thing and I was ready for breakfast.

Later I was given an all-clear but Becky Waggoner was found to have 10 spots on her lungs…….she wasn’t as fortunate. Our hearts went out to her and her family and to Jonathan. Sometimes things just don’t seem fair but it isn’t within our power to change them……..

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Monday, October 17, 2005

JUNE 1ST TO JUNE 20TH....1998 

Barbara had her surgery on June 1st and John called that evening to tell us she was fine. He was at the hospital so I was able to talk to Barbara…..we were both glad it was over. The prognosis was good and so we looked forward to her return to good health. I spent time in the yard, mowing and weeding but Corky came in the evening and finished for me. It was very hot and dry. It seems we need rain sooner every summer.

John was beginning a new job on Tuesday, June 4th. Barbara was doing well and he had a new world waiting for him. After some bad breaks it was coming up roses for them….it was a welcome change. I suppose mothers never get over hating it when their kids go through a hard time.

George came on the 5th and brought Murphy with him. Murphy was enough of a pup yet that Tuffy hissed when he came in and thereafter, Murphy was afraid of him. Much of my time was spent refereeing and scolding Tuffy…..he is never one who likes four footed company. George stayed nights with Becky because of him.

Saturday, Jonathan and Corky came and cut down a couple of pine trees in George’s lot that were behind our garage. It cleared it out nicely and although I always hate to see a tree come down, I also don’t like them leaning on my roofs. We had lunch together and enjoyed the day. George left after dinner on Sunday and called later to let me know he arrived safely. We had a nice weekend together.

We finally got a good old fashioned rainstorm the next day so I did some baking. Gail (my brother’s wife) called and had been quite concerned about her mother. She was in Milwaukee to see about her. They first thought she would have to have gall-bladder surgery but later found it wasn’t the trouble. They took more tests and Gail was getting nervous about getting home to Seattle. She had been gone longer than she intended and was also afraid of what the tests might show. I asked her to let me know when they found out.

I called John and Barb….she was mending well, John liked his new job and L.J. was out to a ballgame. Sounded like things were getting back to normal for them. “Normal” is a good thing. I had been keeping up with the basketball playoffs….the Bulls beat the Jazz so now it was Bulls by 3 to 1. I am a Michael Jordan fan.

We were shocked to learn Becky Waggoner (Jonathan’s fiancée) had a spot on her lung when she went in for her routine checkup. She was going to have chemo and radiation for it and we were all just sick about it. She had done so well from the amputation of her right leg we hoped her cancer wouldn’t return. She was a high school athlete and very determined not to let the cancer keep her from doing what she wanted. This was a blow after coming through all that. I heard from Gail and she was leaving for home but said her mother wasn’t doing well at all.

The Bulls and Jazz were playing in Utah for another thriller. Michael Jordan won it in the last second with a steal and a basket. The fans just about went through the roof. That Michael just seems to be invincible.

The 19th of June was our wedding anniversary and Becky and I were due in Springfield for our yearly physicals. We went through the paces for all of that and then shopped and had a very nice meal before coming home. It tasted better than anything I’d had in a long time. We lingered over our meal and came home….I went to bed feeling contented and thinking I was in perfect health….but I woke up in the night and couldn’t turn over. By morning I couldn’t get out of bed. I lay there formulating a plan to pry myself up. My thinking at the time was that I must have a pinched nerve in my back. My shoulder’s, back and legs were screaming with pain I’d never had before.

I just had a clean bill of health yesterday….what could come upon me so suddenly if it wasn’t a pinched nerve? It would take quite a while for me to find out………

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Becky and I drove to Shawnee over Mother’s Day and had a nice time visiting George and all of our friends. Becky put a lot of time in looking at cars with George…..he insisted she get herself something reliable so she could go places without worry. Her old car was at home so they wrote it off and went from there. It wasn’t worth a spot in the dealer’s Blue Book anymore and was in pathetic shape.

She got herself a small Chevrolet and afterwards we rode across town in it to enjoy a wonderful lunch at Stevenson’s Apple Farm. It is my favorite place to go in Kansas City. I love the charm and the food is wonderful…… We got to see all of our old neighbors and friends, did lots of shopping and went out to eat pizza a couple of times with the Carter’s, which is a tradition.

It was over too fast and before we knew it we were on our way back home. The kitties are always deliriously happy when we get home after a trip. I was still taking them to the vet at this time but later I took some advice from other pet owners and arranged things at home so they could stay here while we were gone. It was much better on all of us….the vet boarding kept going up in price and was making my little trips pretty expensive….and like I was told, they were so much happier.

On May 15th, Becky called to tell me Frank Sinatra died of a heart attack. I didn’t have the morning news on yet and she knew I would be sad to hear it. Of course, he was a big favorite of mine…..his unique styling and respect for the music he sang made him very special. In a world of mad music where most see how loud they can scream and play their instruments, he still had a very large following. In spite of the bad publicity he had over the years, I remained faithful to him. I don’t let an artists personal life get in the way of their contribution to their craft.

Corky, one of the kids I used to work with, came with his weed-eater and trimmed the yard for me, then started working in the back woods where poison ivy was thick. He worked several days on it for me……wouldn’t take a cent but I did get him to eat some tacos with us. He loved Mexican food, and especially mine. He was a god-send because it was too difficult for me to run the weed-eater. Bless his heart, he faithfully came every so often and did it for me without asking. He also cleaned the lot up between Becky and me so it wasn’t so weedy. I will always be grateful for his help.

Jonathan came and cut out some trees for me the day after my birthday. He had a crew of guys and he brought the chipper and bucket truck. They were sure good at what they do……..they had five trees down and cleaned up before dark. It opened the front yard up nicely and would give more room to the trees I wanted to keep. Our weather had been dry for May and I didn’t have to mow as often as I normally would. I had to water my flowers to keep them going.

Becky was thrilled because she cleaned her little gray station wagon up and a guy from work bought it for his son. She got $500 for it which made her a very happy girl, plus got it out of her yard. The little wagon was tough looking but it kept on running and this many years later, it is still going. Maybe it’s related to the Energizing Bunny. John called the last day of May and told us Barbara was going into the hospital the next day for surgery. She had been having problems for a long time so we were all hoping this would be the end of her trouble.

I admired Barbara for many reasons and especially for taking such good care of John and L.J. She had health problems in their early marriage which made it hard for her to work and run a household. Every night without fail she went with L.J. to his room at bedtime and read stories to him. It was their little quiet time together. L.J. always treated his books with respect and they weren’t torn and scribbled in like most children’s.

John and Barb have a unique relationship. After all the years they’ve been married, they are still each other’s best friend. Yesterday in John’s blog he noted that it was the day he proposed to Barbara years ago. Now I ask you. How many husbands can say that? Most men are hard put to remember their wedding anniversary, let alone the proposal date.

You can believe me when I say I love my daughter-in-law….she was heaven-sent to our family by way of John and we’ve always been grateful. We were all concerned about her surgery and our minds would be on her the next day………..

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


February came in on Sunday and Becky woke up sick. I took some juice, soup and cough syrup up to her and played with Dara a little so she could rest and not have to worry about the dog. I was afraid to stay longer so came back home and had a quiet day watching the Pro-Bowl game. Becky was off work the rest of the week before she felt good enough to go back the following Monday.

On the 7th, a year had gone by since Bear died. From now on it wouldn’t be the “first” of this occasion or “that” occasion without him. I made it through a whole year on my own and I knew I could make it the rest of the way. They always say time heals everything but even a year after Bear’s death it was hard to think of him as gone. He seemed very close and real.

The month was dark and gloomy at best but some of the days were warm enough I could go out in the back of our place and burn off leaves. I tried to keep everything going that Bear always had but the reality of it was that I didn’t have the strength he did nor the ability to keep at it like he did. One afternoon I became so tired and weak with chest pains I came back to the house and lay down. I didn’t have the energy to get up which was unusual for me. Normally a few minutes resting and I’d be back at it again………not this time. I stayed drained that way for three days. Like everything else, it finally passed.

March came in cold and blustery which is what I like. That usually means it will go out mellow and warm. On the day after his birthday, John had eye surgery. It was less pain than the surgery before and he could already peak out of the bandage and see things better than last time. He was doing great! Of course I was happy for him.

Jonathan’s birthday was coming up so I fixed his favorite Green Enchilada’s and Becky made a cake. Jonathan and his Becky came and stayed quite a while. Becky (Waggoner) was having trouble with her cancer and had to go back to St. Louis for more treatment. I could tell Jonathan was very worried about her but Becky kept putting off treatment because she didn’t want to leave town. She had fewer options as time went on…..the cancer was in her lungs and to the point now that surgery would not help. I think she chose to ignore it….her only way of being able to cope.

I fixed my Becky’s birthday dinner later in the month and we had a nice evening with Jonathan and his Becky coming. March gave us some pretty cold and miserable weather but it can never last very long in the Ozarks. Spring is just waiting to happen in March.

We had a lot of rain the first part of April and then winds. A large white pine at the corner of deck blew down, roots and all. I really hated it…….dad and Bear planted that tree in 1972 and we had watched it grow from a little twig. I was, however, thankful it didn’t hit the house or deck. Corky, (a kid I worked with) offered to come and help Jonathan remove it. Tornados in the South had killed 38 people with the same storm.

Later, I was picking up small limbs to carry to the back and noticed the lilacs we had planted several years ago had two small blooms. Their first. Somehow that just gave me a lift over losing the pine tree…….it’s funny how simple things can speak volumes at the right time. I guess when one life is over, another is just beginning. That thought carried me along for several days.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


It’s odd how life goes on even though a big part of yours has changed. I found myself doing the same things solo that I had with Bear. New Year’s Eve was quietly slept through and I took the tree down on New Year’s Day. I always enjoy having the parades on as the tree is dismantled. It took a long time but eventually everything was boxed up once more until Christmas time again.

Our weather had been very mild since Christmas and I contented myself crocheting on an afghan and having Becky come and go. The Chiefs were beat out of the playoffs by the Bronc’s and I was sorry about that. Denver is always a tough adversary for the Chief’s…..football was basically over for me until next season. I would watch the games but the thrill was gone once the Chiefs fell by the wayside.

We got our first snow of the New Year on the 8th. It began with flakes which melted when they hit the ground but eventually they began building up until the outside was snow covered. It was a quiet afternoon….no phone calls…..nothing to break the quiet of the day. I hand-sewed on star quilt blocks and enjoyed coffee now and then. I was making a quilt with scraps and it’s always fun to put the pieces together, arranging and blending so the stars are all different. I chose the pattern because the name, Esther, means….a star.

Later in the month, Becky and I drove over to Eminence, MO. I wanted to visit the ladies in the Court House where I had worked many years giving driving tests and a friend across the street who ran a Bed and Breakfast. She had a beautiful old building that used to be the telephone offices renovated into a lovely home with tumbling flowers all around and seating areas to enjoy them. It was called The Blue House because it was….blue with white trim. The inside was delightfully done and we enjoyed potato soup and corn muffins, then dessert and coffee.

We exchanged ideas on our hobbies and crafts. She wanted to do some of the Gallery Glass to enhance her windows and I wanted a couple of her crocheted afghan patterns. We picked each other’s brains in sharing and the day passed quickly. We started the hour’s drive home before darkness would overtake us. The way to a friend’s house is never long…..

Sunday the 25th was the Super Bowl and I made a cheese ball and meat balls for the game and Becky and I watched together. It was Denver and Green Bay that year and Denver took the win. It had been 14-years since the AFL won the Super Bowl…..the beautiful moment was when Elway realized his dream of putting that Super Bowl Ring on his finger. He was one happy man to win the prize he’d sought for so long. His joy overcame any animosity I may have felt otherwise. It was really deserved for such a long and brilliant career. And so a dark and dreary January finally led us to February……….

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Sunday, October 09, 2005


………dental work, that is. A crown fell off and thankfully I didn’t eat it. That requires another 80-mile trip back to Springfield which means some shopping and lunch while we’re in the big town. Becky is off work for Columbus Day so I’ll have company. Have a great Monday everybody and we’ll see you down the road on Tuesday.

Until then,
Essentially Esther

Friday, October 07, 2005


December. My first December without Bear. I was determined to make Christmas happen as it had every year of my life. I didn’t want to be a grieving widow with the Christmas tree in it’s box and me piling the Kleenex up a little higher. If Bear wanted me to be happy and smiley at his funeral, this was a piece of cake. All of the preparations began taking over my thinking and I knew this would be one of my best Christmases ever……because I was thinking of all the things I could do to make everyone else happy.

I was like Scrooge on Christmas morning. I was so eager to get on with all the things I wanted to do….so Becky and I began planning what to bake, the candies to make and all of the goodies we could think of. She was working but she wanted to be more than just help with the planning. We could envision the month with platters of offerings on a table set with candles and more bears for a centerpiece. The first day of December when supper was over we made two batches of Betty Bryant’s Heath Bars and a batch of Rum Balls. That was our starting gate.

Later on we made Biscotti’s, fudge and peppermint almond bark, Bon Bons and Spice Tea Mix. I made cookies, candy and snack foods until our kitchen looked like a deli shop. Our friends, Frank and Betty Bryant came the first weekend in December and we did lots of shopping together. (Frank’s funeral is today as I write….my thoughts are with the family.) They were always such fun company…..ready for anything. Guests like that are a joy to have. It was a good way to start the month off and I shall miss their visits.

After they left Sunday afternoon, Becky and I made Thumbprint Cookies (Barb’s favorite) and a couple of cheese balls. The next day Fred, Ron and Becky stopped by after work for a few minutes. I had cookies for Fred and a Fruit Cake for Ron, their personal favorites. Over the years I baked a lot of calories for those two boys. Their enjoyment always made the effort worthwhile for me. They thought the days were over for their baked goodies after I retired and they tried to talk me into baking for profit. No way. It was much more fun to bake and give away. They couldn’t ruin it for me……..not at all. Baking for hire is work…..baking for someone’s pleasure is high pay.

I cleaned house all the next day and made last minute touches everywhere. Our first guests were Deb and Dode, her mother. Deb was a clerk who became an Examiner. We had a nice visit, just the four of us. I intended keeping our guests in small groups who were connected, somehow. The evening was magical with the tree lights in the living room and all the candles in the kitchen. If I do say so, the table was beautifully arrayed with beautiful crystal, milk glass and poinsettias. Of course the bears and candles felt right at home with the rest of it.

The next evening, another co-worker came, whom I’d known for many of the years I worked. She was in a different field (as a Photo Vision Clerk)……..but we saw each other weekly and were good friends, also known by Becky. The next night another friend came. Each day I would get family packages ready to mail and then get ready for the next guest. I was beginning to feel like a jolly little inn-keeper. This same pattern went on until we finished our list and last of all was the neighborhood dinner. I asked the other two couples on our street to join Becky and me in an early Christmas meal and they were happy to do so since they neither had family to share with.

By the 19th of December we had our last guests and finished up cards and gifts. I was surprised by several visitors who dropped in to wish me a merry Christmas and took time to have some coffee and cookies with me. It was a wonderful season, with all of the family able to come except John and Barb and L.J. We always celebrate when it’s possible for us to get together because of the distance and the weather is not good at holiday time.

The year ended and as I looked back at the blessings I had much to be grateful for. Yes, I lost my husband but we had loved each other. My mother gave me a cross-stitched piece that she made one time and it said, “To love and be loved is the greatest joy on earth.” The truth of that gave me peace. I had a good family, a nice little home, many friends, my health, enough money to keep me comfortable and a lot of love left over to give to someone. For now that meant my family and friends. As God would have it….there was someone else down the road that I knew nothing about. For now I was content with the way things were. That’s what God does. He makes you happy…..no matter what, or where or when…….

Until next time,
Essentially Esther


I will be posting late today due to company. I am not vain enough to think this will inconvenience anyone. But for the one person who may come this way……in the words of the Terminator, “I’ll be back.”

See you later………
Essentially Esther

Thursday, October 06, 2005


October is a favorite month for a lot of people. For most of us the scenery changes into a kaleidoscope of unbelievable color. October is the last of the harvest……the completion of a long, hot summer for farmers. For us small farmers….the flower garden variety, it means a killing frost will soon take our blooms away until spring when they bloom once more.

October this year was much the same except for a few changes. My brother and my dad’s birthdays were in October and mom died in October…..also a good friend. As the years go by more and more loved ones leave us but I am not fearful or angry. It is the way of life and death is the ultimate door we pass through.

The preparation for winter is always part of this month where we live. I washed all of the mobile home I could reach with a sponge mop and one weekend Becky did the top part for me as I held the ladder and “fetched” things for her. We raked our lawns together, washed windows, finished the gardens up and settled in for cold weather……..you don’t have to wait long once October is past.

We drove to Kansas City one week-end and spent time with George. It’s always fun to see his new home improvements and his carefully tended lawn. Of course there is always shopping and visiting with old friends as well. The changes in our old neighborhood are noted but the shopping areas change the landscape more than anything. It’s hard to realize how it all looked when we first moved to the area in 1957. We were one block away from cows grazing in a pasture. I miss that when I go back.

November came in gray and drizzly. The sky was gray flannel over a dormant world. Winter would soon be upon us. Early in the month I made a drive to Springfield for a second mammogram to dispel my doctor’s concern over a first one. It came out fine and I was told to return in 6-months. I wish every woman could get that news after a questionable X-ray. It also marked the month when we were told Bear had terminal brain cancer….one year ago.

November is always hunting season….deer hunting. I dread seeing them fastened to the tops of cars or hauled into town in the back of a pickup. Such beautiful animals that were meant to fly on their feet. I’m well aware of the facts about “managing” and about “harvesting” but I still don’t like it. Facts have nothing to do with the heart.

Dad and Louis….Jakie….all went to heaven in November. On the 22nd of the month an ambulance came up our road which surprised me. One year ago on that day we brought Bear home from the hospital in one…….it just struck me as odd. I spent part of each day in November raking leaves trying to finish up. It seemed the trees kept putting on more every night……..I couldn’t see any end to it. No doubt about it. This was my last year to rake leaves. I would learn to use the riding mower!!

George and Jonathan came for Thanksgiving dinner. John and Jennifer called and we had a nice visit over the phone, passing it around. The next day we put our tree up and I made sugar cookies which George and Becky iced. I wanted to have Christmas in our traditional way so Becky and I put our heads together to plan several Christmas tea's later on.

I decorated the house from head to toe in Bears. The tree was filled with bears on it and sitting around under it. This year would be a testimony that life goes on regardless of circumstances….Christmas would come again with the promise of peace and good will to men.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


September moved on after Diana died. The world slowed down for a few moments in time but then resumed as if she never existed. That’s life…..and that’s death. My dad used to say, “After the people die off who knew you……you are forgotten.” I guess he was pretty accurate.

I lost two other people in my life that month who deserve mention. Blanch Mitchell and “Codd” Coddington. Blanch was a friend of my mothers. They had much in common as both were quiet but had very outgoing and artistic sisters. They found friendship in quiet ways while their sisters preferred the limelight. It took me a long time to learn that people who prefer the quiet life are not handicapped.

I used to feel sorry for ones who always sat at the side or the back of whatever was going on. I thought they suffered greatly because they seemingly had no artistic ability. What I learned is that most are satisfied, fulfilled and happy in their lives. They just don’t feel the need to be a great communicator or to make public use of their talents. I’ve been on both sides of the fence. Most of my life was public. When it was not I enjoyed different activity……or no activity. These are choices to be made when circumstances change for you.

Codd was an Army buddy of Bear’s. They had served together in quite a few of their tours of duty and had been friends from the U.S. to Europe. Codd and Bear were both in Military Intelligence and met in Polish Language School in Monterey, CA. They were being trained to interview refugees coming out of Eastern Europe with hopes of coming to the States……many from Poland and Germany. Bear spoke both languages.

When I married Bear, I began hearing about Codd on a daily basis. They were good buddies and in time I met both he and his wife….I liked them immediately. They had retired in San Diego and then moved north to Santa Rosa. They were originally from Illinois and loved California. They briefly moved to the lake areas in Arkansas but couldn’t take the humidity and moved back to California. Bear died in February….Codd died in September. They are still together and Carroll and I were left behind. We have stayed in touch with each other over the years.

September was trying to decide on her weather pattern. Some days were hot and sunny….others overcast and gloomy. We had beautiful days in-between that were worthy of honorable mention. Becky and I did yard work to get ready for winter and the closets were changed over for another season. The month slipped out on a Tuesday and October came to call…..my favorite month.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Monday was spent in Springfield with Miss Becky. She went for what we hoped would be her dismissal from the orthopedic doctor. However, she is to remain on light duty for 6-more weeks while her mid foot tendons heal from top to bottom. It was good news and bad news. There are always factors that go each way.

I dropped her at her medical building while I drove back across town for lab work at a medical complex on the south of Springfield. Next, a stop by our dentist’s office to see if they could glue in a crown I lost eating a brownie last week. Thankfully I hadn’t chewed it to pieces and it was still in tact. A little glue should do the trick. Well, you know things are never that simple. The dentist and staff are out of the office for one whole week. I made an appointment for next Monday at high noon.

Back across town to see about Becky. I found her in the waiting room….still….waiting. I couldn’t believe it. Her doctor had been called out on an emergency earlier and was a half-hour behind……..now he was an hour behind. As I was voicing a complaint to Becky, they called her name and mama trotted right in with her. (I always do that….mother’s don’t get much priority after the kids are grown. It gives me a chance to exercise my once important role.)

After an x-ray and a visit……it’s pretty much the same story. Time will take care of it. That is a “stock” answer you get these days. Time is going so fast now that everything is taken care of….in time. It goes faster for everyone except the guy who is holding up a swollen, hurting foot. Good news, bad news.

By now it was noon and since I had fasted for my lab work I was now thinking about food very seriously. Our options were shot since it was noon in the city. We ended up at a diner which is one step above fast food. They still have waitresses and real dishes. The black and white tile, the counter and everything else in the building takes you right back to the 40’s. Sorry if YOU can’t go back that far. I remember the old “Steak and Shake” from the dark ages………..good old greasy steak burgers with all the dressings on your plate, fries, onion rings and a double dark chocolate milk shake. The milk shake was a new concoction for Halloween…….it was like mainlining hot fudge right into your gizzard. Becky and I decided one of those was enough for a lifetime.

So now we are charged with enough fat and chocolate to do some serious shopping. We had a long list but our time had been kicked out of the park. We threw out the non-essential list (like groceries) and went right to the Flea-Market. Becky and I pushed a cart around this huge warehouse finding treasures for the rooms we are each redecorating. Before we knew it we were worn out and it was still a long drive home. We got the van loaded with the help of the owner and headed towards Willow Springs.

Today I am placing and replacing…and doing all the things I didn’t do yesterday. One thing for sure, I will get in touch with my old friend, Betty and offer my condolences for the loss of her husband. Time does heal all wounds and even those of the heart.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther