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Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I was sad to hear on the news of Walter Peyton dying the first day of November. He was only 45-years old and had a rare type of liver cancer. He was unable to obtain a transplant in time and refused to “go ahead” of anyone else. That made him a hero in my eyes, if not his brilliant career with the Chicago Bear’s in his glory days. He was poetry in motion to those of us who love football.

On the third day it frosted heavily but the phlox and roses continued to bloom. My mother used to bring me her last rose of summer every year…..she would come walking down the road (with the little vase she normally had on her kitchen table,) and in it would be her last rose bud. It’s funny what you remember about a person…….actually, it’s the little things that seem insignificant at the time. I could hardly tell you of any gift I received for birthdays or Christmas, but the everyday things speak volumes, even yet. Mom was master of small acts of consideration.

The 7th-day was the third anniversary of Dr. Applegate telling us that Bear had a very fast moving brain cancer which was inoperable. My world ended that day but Bear received the news bravely and never wavered……the calendar date brought back a rush of memories. Time heals everything but the heart…..there is no substitute for a person who impacted your life for almost 27-years.

I was working hard every day to get the leaves up. They were almost all down now and after several hard days, the yard was finished. I cleaned the mower good and put it away for the winter. I baked cookies to mail to Jennifer and LJ…….they both loved Chocolate Chip cookies and once in a while I would surprise them with a box in the mail.

A strange thing happened in the middle of the month…..Becky and I were spending the evening together as we crocheted on afghans for Christmas. We were listening to the championship football game of Willow Springs when the phone rang. A woman’s voice I didn’t recognize told me they were having an emergency and could I look up a number for her in the phone book……..the noise in the background made me think it was a legitimate call and I obliged. The phone number she asked for was the home number of our music director at the high school……Mr. East.

Later that evening, a friend called to tell me Mr. East had a heart attack right before the band was to play the National Anthem. He was rushed to the hospital but they couldn’t save him. The caller was a teacher at the game who was trying to reach Mr. East’s wife to inform her that he was being taken to the hospital. Needless to say, I found the circumstances a million to one that I was randomly dialed to supply the phone number…….Willow Springs lost the game, unable to overcome the trauma they experienced right before the team came on the field. Mr. East was popular with the school community and the whole town was in shock at his sudden death…….he was a young man.

George came on the 19th and I had pizzas made for his arrival. He had other plans for Thanksgiving so he made a quick trip to visit with us the week-end before. When Becky came from work we ate to our heart’s content and then indulged in a piece of fresh apple pie. The next day we just visited and Becky spent the day with us….we watched a lot of football and kept working on our afghans. In the evening, Jonathan and his Becky came by for a while to visit with George. I filled him full of home-made goodies and he left around noon on Sunday.

Thanksgiving was a quiet day for Becky and me. George drove to Ohio with a friend, Jonathan and his Becky went to Oklahoma and John’s family went to Mississippi for the day. I finished the afghan I was working on, washed and dried it…….turned out beautiful. I immediately started another one as we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade…..then football and ice-skating. John and Jennifer both called and we had a nice visit. John was going back to work at Greenbrier with Marty, on Monday…….he was happy about that. Becky and I finished the evening off with Pumpkin Cheesecake. Yum!!

The end of the month came which would have been Bear’s 75th, birthday. I could imagine him directing the angel choir as he so often fantasized….when asked one time what he wanted to do in heaven, he said with all seriousness….. “I want to sing in the choir, direct the choir, play in the orchestra and sometimes lead the orchestra.” Of course he knew it was only make-believe but I like to think it is happening just that way………..

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


October, as I have often written, is the most beautiful month in the Ozarks to my way of thinking. The days are warm and the nights are cool…….there is a lingering of summer that refuses to hurry off and for one brief month we pretend it will always be that way. It’s a time for us to enjoy the changing seasons without the rush of holidays, or yard work or even garden bounty to deal with. We have one whole month to just enjoy the gift.

Becky and I drove up to visit George, early in the month, and we had a few days to shop, eat at our favorite restaurants and visit old friends and neighbors. It was always amazing to us how the neighborhood was changing…..it seemed with every visit there was more traffic, more people, more buildings……..just more of everything. With all of that, I still prefer to remember it the way it was when the children were growing up and there was a pasture at the end of the street where cows grazed in contentment.

I suppose I just like to remember it the way I sometimes like to remember my children…….when they were all young and at home. I will never be sorry I resisted the urge to work when they were pre-school age. I have memories of them that I’ve carried all along my journey…..and though we had to be very creative to make up for what we didn’t have, I know we gave them the best of what there was to give.

Our holiday decorations were often made of construction paper, glue and pictures from magazines….and oftentimes from little projects the Cub Scouts or Blue Birds made at our meetings. I was always happy to see the excitement on their faces as we took those simple things and turned them into festive creations. I remember one time John wanted a piggy bank and I took a plastic bottle, some felt, some wood pieces for the feet to stand on and made the face on the neck of it, with the cap as the snout. We inserted felt ears through cuts in the bottle and a pipe cleaner made a curly tail. He was so proud of it he showed everyone and put his pennies in it through the slit in the back. I miss the times when such simple things were so loved.

As October ran it’s course on the calendar, I drove out to a friends house and we walked her farm with plastic pails to pick up hickory nuts. My mother always liked them but dad complained they had too tough a shell and there wasn’t enough “meat” inside to mess with them. It’s funny what you think about as you do some things……..after we tired of walking and picking up the nuts we went inside and had a nice lunch together. Friends in a small town are unassuming and don’t make a big fuss about telling you how much they love you……but if and when trouble comes they are the first on your doorstep to help.

It’s hard to define friendship. I figure it’s just when your heart loves someone else so much more than it loves you, it’s called, friendship…..and that’s a good thing!

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Monday, November 28, 2005


The first of August Becky and I decided to rent a showcase at our local Antique Barn and Flea Market. We had been shopping there all summer for items to complete the collections we were working on and became very friendly with the owners. Between them and Becky I was a reluctant participant but the first month our sales were so good even I was amazed. It was like a match to the prairie grass once we saw the possibility of what “marketing” could do.

….and so, that is why, on the first day of September, we were filling a second showcase. We worked hard, getting it filled to our satisfaction and then waiting for results. It also meant making periodic trips to see if we needed to fill shelves, change our prices, etc; In short, it gave me a purpose that I had been needing and also a way to rid myself of unwanted objects around the house. Since then, I have continually been in the “find and replace mode” as we buy and sell.

Our neighbor, Dave, was a policeman in our small town and on a routine stop ran into a young man from Iowa in a stolen car, violating his parole. When he opened the door to get the driver’s license, the young man tromped the accelerator and took Dave for a wild ride, trying to run his side of the car into other vehicles, trees, whatever……..with Dave hanging on the door. This went on for several blocks when the driver lost control and wrecked the car on a side street, throwing Dave onto the pavement.

The assailant got Dave’s gun and attempted shooting him without any luck. He threw the gun down and ran across Main Street behind some buildings and into an open field. Some teenagers saw the whole thing happening and took pursuit after him, catching him and giving him some lumps to remember. Dave was a buddy to all the kids in town…..saving them many times from arrest or worse by talking sense into them. He was well respected by the community at large and no one wanted to see him hurt.

His long recuperation eventually caused retirement. His shoulder never healed well enough that he could be as physical as he needed to be and he didn’t want to run the risk of causing harm to anyone for lack of it. We were happy that he wasn’t hurt worse and just glad to have him home, next door.

The following Monday I began working part time at the “Barn”…….John, the owner had talked to me about it some time earlier and I thought I might give it a try. I had been retired two years and it sounded like fun. It gave John and his wife a little time away after starting their business from the ground up and working every day. John was an engineer who designed the building and had every convenience built in. It was a learning experience for me to become more aware of pricing, buying and selling, the other dealers, etc; The shared knowledge and their tutoring was most beneficial.

I was surprised that being on my feet 9-hours a day didn’t bother me any more than being at home, doing my normal things. I was only supposed to work two days a week but it turned into three days the first week and after that, I was pretty much on call. They realized that their time away was very beneficial and I was a good replacement in their absence. I have always enjoyed the public and I enjoyed the work as well.

This particular September was one that I had not anticipated but I guess I liked the idea that someone “needed” my services…. and that at my age I could still be productive in the job market. I think that’s a good way for anyone to feel……

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Not a turkey
Napoleon is glad he is not a turkey

Napoleon is glad he is not a turkey
Our plans have changed several times for the Thanksgiving holiday. First we intended driving to Shawnee, KS. to be with George. We did that for two years and he made a full dinner that was delicious and convenient so Becky and I didn’t have to fuss in the kitchen all day. He merely ordered from a catering business …which he picked up and all we had to do was reheat everything. For a commercial meal, it wasn’t bad. Becky and I were impressed…… since the guys don’t cook, what do they know?

Then we learned little Brady was to make preparatory trips to Springfield for X-rays, consultation with his surgeon, and finally the surgery to remove an extra pinkie on each hand. This is all intermingled with the time we would be in Shawnee so we made a call to George who was understanding and only had to cancel the dinner order for tomorrow.

Then I asked if he would be able to come here and join us…and he said he could. An hour later, he called after remembering an “appointment” with a certain basketball game he had tickets for at KU…..basketball heaven for Kansans, and one family down in Louisiana. This time, “I” understood.

Jonathan and Aimee and little Brady will be our guests, along with Becky, and our good neighbors who are well acquainted with all of us. It will be Brady’s first Thanksgiving and his great-grandma is going to get to fix it for him. Getting it out of the bottle may be a little difficult but that’s his mama’s problem. Ha!! That is, if she can get Brady away from Grandma Becky very long………Becky has waited a long time for a grandchild and she is just wild about Brady.

So from all of us to our extended families….to all our friends…and our blogging folks out there….we wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving in the vein it was purposed to be. May your travel be safe, your families close and your tummy’s full.

God bless you all from the Rockenbach’s

Until Monday,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


August came in without much going on…….eleven days into the month, Victor Mature died of cancer. Most of the younger readers will not know him but as an impressive young girl, I was madly in love with him. No matter that his hair was always greased into long, wavy locks and that his eyes dripped with lust when holding the female “lead” in the movie. My heart belonged to him…..I’m sure his movies would make me gag now, with the advent of so much technology showing up the flaws of film-making in the late 30’s and throughout the ‘40’s. None of the teen-age boys I dated in high school could compete with his often bare to the waist physique. His movies fell from grace as newer techniques came upon the scene and by-passed his epics of the day. My favorite was Sampson and Delilah……*sigh*

….and then, sadly, a baseball figure had a tragedy. Our family had watched the first game “Catfish” Hunter pitched in the major leagues when Charlie Finley owned the franchise in KC. John, was a baseball fan second only to his dad who knew every player, their batting average, where they “came from” etc;etc; It was an exciting night to watch him pitch…..Finley won out over the other teams that were trying to woo Catfish with a contract. He was definitely the hottest pitcher at the time…….. he came up out of high-school and now all he had to prove was that he was good enough for professional baseball….and he did just that. He became one of the best. John owns a “team ball” with all the players on it and Catfish was one of the signers…..though dimming with age, it is still a treasure.

Time passed, years took their toll and the sports news was that he fell and hit his head at home….he had Lou Gehrig’s disease and was in serious condition. Time has a way of catching up with all of us, regardless of how famous or how gifted. We were saddened to learn of his declining health.


I had to laugh at the entry in my diary for August 24th………it went this way….

I spent the day finishing the kitchen….I washed the plate rack and plates, finished washing the cabinets, oiled the desk, washed windows and cleaned the stove, refrigerator and dishwasher. I wrote 3-letters and took a short nap….spent time with my little outside kitty, Missy. Becky walked down after work and we visited a while…..after she left, I spent the evening crocheting and watching TV. This was a perfect day!!!
This is the mentality that I’ve always had. If I accomplished a lot in a day’s time, I was happy. While others fight for “spare time” I am always fighting to get more done. It’s too late to lecture me….the ruts are too deep…..but I am not like a mindless robot trudging about….I am constantly thinking the whole time and gleaning lessons from my everyday chores. Needless to say….my pets have taught me much about life as well. It is amazing what one can learn just by looking, listening and implementing. I owe a lot to their tutorage….

Barbara called Becky to let us know John had a wreck with his bicycle that morning (August 25th) ,and that he was all right except for bruises, being skinned up and a little dazed at the time. He was riding with a buddy and had a collision, flipping him over the handlebars of the bike. I was grateful he wasn’t hurt worse and called to see how he was doing. He sounded chipper enough and that put my mind at ease. I had worried for some time because he rode in traffic and anything can happen at any given time. We have lost Troopers due to people driving into them while parked by the side of the road……it’s just an accident waiting to happen. Given the fact that he doesn’t have the vision most of us enjoy, it made my concern more intense. I was very happy his friend was with him and also happy he wasn’t hurt worse. John’s guardian angel hasn’t had much rest, trust me.

August passed here with school starting and the familiar busses making their rounds again. The “dog days” of Summer were behind us and we could look forward to cooler temperature and some rain with September on the calendar. Outside work was finished and we had time to rest before the Fall foliage colored and began to drop leaves……so for now, all was gathered in and Mother Nature took a big breath and let her air out slowly……..she was feeling tired after the Summer busyness and was thinking about a nap. Missy joined her in a sunny spot on the deck while she dozed in my rocking chair. Life was good………..

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Monday, November 21, 2005


It was stormy the first day of July and the power was off for a while. The next day turned hot and the humidity was at high peak…..I stayed in with the AC all day. I managed to cultivate my flowers and weed them by working early in the mornings…otherwise it was unbearable. Mid-month John Kennedy was reported missing with his wife and wife’s sister. They had been on their way to a family wedding at Martha’s Vineyard. John was flying the plane and most said he was not experienced enough to be flying into dusk with low visibility.

Hopes to find them alive were dashed when luggage began washing up on shore. A massive search went on to find the bodies and the nation at large grieved over such an untimely death for a couple who had everything ahead of them. It seems the Kennedy family is plagued by the curse so often spoke of.

On a Friday late afternoon, John, Barb, LJ and some extra boys arrived on their way to the KU Basketball Training Camp again. I fixed Mexican and boys being boys, they ate heartily and watched TV……..a boyhood friend of John’s came to visit after supper and they had a good time catching up with each other. They boys slept at Becky’s and I slept John and Barb here. They were wanting to get away early the next morning and left by 8:00am.

Becky and I were to meet John and Barb at George’s where they were staying on Monday. We put our pets in boarding, loaded the car and drove to KC by 1:15. The kids were just leaving the driveway when we arrived so they helped us unload the van and then we all went to eat. The next day George grilled burgers for us and then we drove to Lawrence to see the boys play ball. They were in an air-conditioned gym and it was interesting to watch the teams play against each other. LJ’s team won both of their games so it was fun to watch. After we told the boys goodnight, we stopped at a Perkins for pie and coffee. The night was clear with a million diamonds in the sky……..away from the city the Kansas sky was ablaze with twinkling lights.

It was pretty much the same the next day. We shopped the malls and ate out….then later drove over to Lawrence to see the games. LJ’s team split that evening. Barb, Becky and I managed to catch colds from George so it was getting difficult to enjoy our outings. The next day Becky and I loaded up and came home……our critters were glad to see us and happy to settle in at home again.

John and his group arrived on the following Saturday, this time on their way back to Louisiana. I fixed potato salad and baked beans to go with burgers…..and I made a pecan pie. We spent the evening looking at photo albums and laughing over old times. They wanted to leave early in order to get home at a decent hour so I got up at 4:45am and made enough biscuits for everyone……Becky came and helped make sausage gravy, all of which disappeared pretty fast. They had a safe trip home and we enjoyed our time with them. We grab our chances to be together whenever it’s possible and no matter how short, it’s always worth the effort.

July pretty well burned up everything outside. We had practically no rain and being out at all was just plain miserable. The older I get the more I appreciate air conditioning…..I don’t know how we made it all those years ago when we were gardening and canning in the same kind of weather. I well remember steaming jars of beans and tomatoes in big kettles as we “cold packed” them in boiling water for winter’s food. Why they called it cold packing I’ll never know…..nothing cold about it. Later we were proud owners of pressure cookers but they only worked faster…..not cooler. I guess it goes without saying that when we’re young our comfort zones are much kinder than with the advancing years.

Well, woman’s work is never done and I must stop with July and roll up my sleeves for a few chores around here with what’s left of today. Thanksgiving will soon be here and there is much to do before Thursday. I’ll never understand why being retired doesn’t add more time on the clocks…..I don’t know how I ever managed to be employed and keep it all going. Maybe that “younger” thing had something to do with it…..it’s true I’m slowing down. I think I hear Old Father Time calling…..Ha!! I’m not going to answer him just yet…………

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Friday, November 18, 2005


(Note: I inadvertantly typed MAY instead of JUNE. It only took me 4-days to figure this out. I don't know if I'm ahead or behind but anyway.....this is June.)

On this frosty Friday morning it seems odd to be writing about turning the AC on in June. The year is 1999 and we are nearing the mid-point telling of it already. Thank you for the well-wishes yesterday for Rocky’s birthday. He celebrated by bench pressing 200 lbs. in preparation for the Heavy Weight-Lifter’s Meet December 10th. He hopes to top that by the time the Meet begins. When we were young and foolish, he used to grab me and throw me over his shoulder….of course, (sigh) I was a mere slip of a girl back then…..but trust me, I’m not over 200 pounds now. He went into this weight thing telling me he wanted to work up to my weight so he could do it again. Well, I’ve lost weight since he started and he’s able to lift far more than he started out with………so, who knows, that trip over his shoulder may be forthcoming.

The first time I turned the AC on for the year was June 2nd……….when the weather turns humid along with the heat, I’m heading for the thermostat. Can’t take that humidity. One of my favorite musicians, Mel Torme, died on the 4th……….I had been a fan of his for years. The man with the velvet voice…..it was impossible for him to sing a sour note and the man had incredible breath control. Simply amazing. Being from the old school that I am…..I can’t see hip hop or rap being musical or even entertaining. There are a few areas where I can’t cut the modern stage any slack…….being older, I don’t have to be politically correct….I can be as narrow-minded as I want because seniors are expected to be that way. I don’t surprise anyone with a negative response to some of the modern day culture.

The month was full of yard work and having friends in for birthdays, dinners, desserts or just because. I enjoy cooking for people and their grateful comments at the dinner table is like saying “Amen” to a preacher in the middle of a sermon. It just makes you want to heap more on them…..I don’t think anyone ever left our house hungry. Not if I could help it…….

I found a good kid who was looking for summer jobs and he took on the task of painting the garage. I hired him by the hour and he worked diligently. He was the son of one of the Communications guys at the Highway Patrol Office. In fact, he was such a good little worker, I had him detail the car, wash the mobile home, and anything else I could think of. He graduated high school in May and was going to college in the fall…..his desire was to become a Trooper for the Missouri Highway Patrol. I knew Jeremy could be anything he set his mind to.

The month passed quickly. When you’re busy every day time has a way of evaporating. I spent a lot of hours in the flower beds and June was rather dry so that meant frequent watering. Gardner’s are a strange lot…..pulling weeds and getting dirt under their nails is not a problem. The joy of the first blooms and the perfection of the Creator’s hand in each is good for the soul. Being outside has always been good therapy for me. I do my best thinking in the garden or at the kitchen sink. Ironing is a good place as well but with the advent of ‘wash and wear’ I don’t iron much anymore……that’s one golden oldie I don’t seem to miss……

Until next time,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Today is Rocky’s birthday……..he is a whopping 74-years old. Rocky is a survivor….he has had two heart attacks, prostate cancer, and a brain tumor. He lives with diabetes, has had three wives, is the father to three children, grandpa to five grandchildren; one great grandchild and another on the way.

Rocky has always been an athlete. He was very active in school, wrestling and playing football. He played softball until he was 53, only to stop when he had his first heart attack. He currently works out at our gym in West Plains and won titles in weight lifting last year. His next meet will be December 10th. He is an inspiration to the young men in the gym who admire his workout ethic and strength.

Rocky has a brother and sister who are each older than him and we enjoy meeting with them and their spouses at least once a year. Sister Marie and husband, Harold, live in St. Louis and brother Richard and wife, Helen, live in Plano, Il. They are all very active in their communities and do a great deal of traveling. All are retired from very impressive careers.

As for Rocky, he will never retire. He just can’t get away from the steering wheel of any vehicle. He drove over-the-road semi’s most of his life…..first for others and eventually in his own “rig.” When we were both widowed, he found me and we married a few months later. Rocky and I were sweethearts in high school and just never forgot each other over the years…….and so we are living a dream that was postponed long ago.

He is fond of my three children and we manage to be with them several times a year. They were happy to accept him into our family, first because of my happiness and later because Rocky is the real deal. For several years he has driven Medicaid patients to their doctor’s appointments all over our half of the State. He is not only a provider of transportation but a good listener and is considerate of their needs. It gives him the opportunity to be of help to people who oftentimes can’t help themselves and he still enjoys driving…..it’s a match made in heaven.

My Rocky!! King of the road!!


From the lady who still puts stars in your eyes,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Yesterday I wrote about our 50th High School Class Reunion. Driving home alone later that night I was struck by how different we were from those “good old days” and yet how very much we were alike. The next day I penned some of those thoughts to the editor of the Cabool Enterprise and he published it in the next edition. It goes like this:

To the editor of the Cabool Enterprise:

On May 29th the Class of 1949 celebrated it’s 50th reunion in Cabool. I have always been proud of the town I called “home” for several years and especially our school. I would like to share my thoughts of that day with you.

We came from the hills and valleys around Cabool to make up the Class of ‘49. We were known as the little guys out there looking for gold. Some of us began together in grade school while others of us moved in from other towns or states. Whatever our status, be it early or late, we became the Class of the ‘49’ers.

In the fifty years since graduation few of us have enjoyed the pranks, friendships, camaraderie or the love we knew then. Whether rooting for the Sports events, cheering Music and Voice endeavors or pulling for the Speech and Debate Teams, we were as one. We worked with and for the Community as no other class had and the town supported a 4-year work effort for a Senior Trip to Washington D.C. after graduation….a huge effort for that day and time.

After Pomp and Circumstance faded we were cast into seventy-two different directions. Some went right into the Military, some to college; most found jobs…. and careers were begun on every level. Through the years most of us remained in touch with each other and periodically met for small local reunions.

None were as sweet or poignant as the 50th. We were survivors of every affliction life can throw. Many of us had lost loving mates, faced heart surgery, battled cancer, divorce, job changes and life changes. Through it all it was obvious that each survivor had a strong faith, good morals, great attitudes and a wonderful sense of adventure and good humor.

Ten classmates have passed away, many of us battle failing health, the rigors of time have taken it’s toll but our spirits grow brighter than ever. Age is an institution of learning and time binds us ever closer to the ones we love. Singing our old school song together at the close of the evening was a sweet benediction and a victory of sorts. Why? Because after all these years we still remembered the words! And that’s a good thing.

It’s OK to be panning for gold if you are looking in the right places. God, country, family, friends…..and yes, old schools. We were digging for gold in ‘49 and in these years since, our wealth has multiplied beyond measure. The road from school led outward so we had the way…..experience, the great teacher, was waiting at the first bend in the road so we knew the 'how'. She proved to be a faithful guide along an otherwise, long and difficult journey………

Until Thursday,
Essentially Esther

Monday, November 14, 2005


On the 7th of May, Becky and I drove to Springfield to pick my sister-in-law, Gail, up at the airport. She had an afternoon flight so we drove on home and fixed a pizza supper………then gabbed until way into the night. We had five days of shopping, visiting and gadding, and then I drove her back to the airport for her return flight home. Our visits are quite different now, with mom, dad, Louis and Bear…..all gone.

The next day I had an early breakfast meeting with the other ‘49ers in Mountain Grove. It was our last meeting before the 50th Reunion on the 29th. My job was to paint small rocks with gold paint to put at each place on the table. Our class logo had been the little ‘49er with his mule, picking for gold. We were all looking forward to the final day of the dinner because we knew more classmates all around the country were going to make the effort to come back for the special occasion.

I spent a lot of time in my flowers and yard, fertilizing, watering, mulching and all that goes into landscaping. Jonathan and a couple of his buddies and some of the men from the power company came one Saturday and cut out quite a few trees for me that were not shaped nicely or were too crowded. It was a hard days work but they had a chipper and a bucket truck so the did a lot in a short amount of time. It certainly opened up the yard.

My birthday is always something I look forward to because of the cards, letters, and phone calls etc; received from family and friends. It was a beautiful day. I recorded in my diary that the sky was a deep blue with big puffy, white clouds. I wondered where the 67-years disappeared to…….in a way it seemed fast but when I reflected on all that’s happened in the years between it was amazing how all of that was packed into the few years it represented.

A classmate of mine, Don Rockenbach, called to find out the time of the Class Reunion. He lived across the State, near the Oklahoma and Arkansas borders and had driven home especially to attend the class function. Don had mostly driven over-the-road all those years for companies and in later years, independently with his own truck. He had a farm and still loved animals as he did when we were in school together…..he had a menagerie on his farm.

I went early the next day to deliver the brownies I made for the lunch at noon and to put the gold pieces at each plate for the evening meal. It was wonderful to see so many of the classmates who hadn’t come back at other reunion times. There was lots of hugging and laughing and pure joy as old times were remembered and also because it was funny to see how some of us turned out in our “old age.” Sadly, some were on walkers, had many surgeries behind them, some were battling cancer and other debilitating diseases……..a few looked great and much like they used to. It was a wonderful day of reliving the good times and promising to keep in touch.

Out of a class of 72, we counted only 10-who were deceased. I think for 50-years, that was a pretty good ratio. We had 43-attending the dinner. Our class had always been very close and a lot of effort went into getting back for the festivities. One of the highlights for all of us was the tour to our school. Of course it had changed a lot in 50-years. We rode from the home where we had lunch to the school in a school bus. It was a riot……..it brought the “kid” out in all of us and it was “back to the future” time.

I helped Norman, our Class President, by delivering all of the prizes around to the winners as he called their names and told how they earned them. It was much like a “roast” as the winners received their prize for some goof-up they produced back in school days. It was good natured fun and we spent the evening laughing at ourselves and each other.

“Fifty years ago“ where have the years gone? ……..I remember sitting in Reunions in the school gyms at other times, looking at the elder statesmen of years ago, thinking………. “Boy!! Those folks are really old.” Now I was sitting in the oldest group along with my classmates. Time has a way of slipping by……even for us.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Saturday, November 12, 2005


March came in like a lamb but of course the weather changed quickly. I was absorbed with my health and getting rid of the rash that had driven me up the wall for 6 months. I went through series of days at a time that it felt I was being poisoned and had to force myself to do routine tasks. I drug around like a zombie and felt like my own grandmother. Becky was as puzzled because she knew I was doing everything the dermatologist prescribed as well as Dr. Powell.

March 10th Dr. Laughlin called and said the lab results showed I had a urinary tract infection. She conferred with Dr. Powell to make sure the antibiotics wouldn’t interfere with the other meds I was taking and the prescription was called to our local drugstore. I began taking them immediately because she couldn’t give me the oral medication we had discussed (to hopefully rid me of the rash) until I was cleared of the infection. If she thought the oral meds would do it after I was cleared, bring it on.

By the eighth day on the sulfa I was feeling icky and headachy. I managed to talk myself out of it and kept on working around the house. I spent a very restless night and didn’t get much sleep. The next day I felt worse and ached all over like I was taking the flu. I happened to look in the mirror when brushing my teeth and my face was swollen with a reddish purple cast. I called my doctor immediately and he said I was having a reaction to the Sulfa and not to take any more of it. There was only one pill left which I would have taken the next morning.

Becky called to see how I was feeling because she had been here the night before and knew I was having problems. When she heard what happened she was concerned and agreed with the doctor………to rest, drink lots of water and take Tylenol. I did all of that and was still miserable. I slept on the couch and had another sleepless night. Becky tried to make me comfortable but there was nothing any of us could do until the Sulfa left my system. Finally, the fourth night, sleep came but when I woke I was feeling worse. The next few days were again, miserable.

By the end of the month Dr. Powell called to tell me my urine sample was still abnormal and he made an appointment for me to see a Urologist he recommended. On the 6th of April Dr. Laughlin called to tell me she had the report from the Urologist and it showed my ‘abnormal’ urine sample was identified as Strep. It had been the driving force behind the rash and why I ached and hurt so bad all the time. It was separate from my Fibromyalgia problems and I was to see the Urologist for further treatment.

After that next appointment with him the results came out clear and it was no longer necessary to see him. The strange thing is, after the fiasco with the Sulfa, my rash started losing the deep red color and it’s puffiness….day after day it faded until I had no spots left and my skin returned to normal. It was like watching a miracle each day as the horrid rash grew fainter.

After the long episode I felt like a prisoner set free. If that sounds too dramatic, all I can say is…..it WAS dramatic. I could never imagine the demon I had been fighting for so long was caused by something internal. It took three different doctors and a lot of months to find the culprit and finally win the battle. I’m sure Becky was glad she no longer had to come morning and evening to put the cream on my back. The long journey was over and returning to my normal routine made Fibromyalgia look like a picnic. I made up my mind it was not going to dominate my life and time as the strange affair I had just been through…….and it hasn’t.

Life is like football. You have a choice to play on the offensive team or the defensive team. I chose the offense because I want to move to the goal line. I’m not just keeping someone else from making their goal…..and I’m not going to let them keep me from making mine.

Until Monday,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Becky and I will be driving to Springfield tomorrow (Friday a.m.) for the day so I will be writing on Saturday to make up for the absence. Since it is Veteran’s Day, keep them in your prayers and hug an old Vet if you know one. They gave up an awful lot so we could enjoy the safety and freedom we have today…..young men are still answering the call and our hearts and prayers go out to them and their families.

Until Saturday then,
Essentially Esther


February came in dark and dreary but after a few days the sun came out and warmed us up considerably. In winter the sun is always welcome. I went to a noon luncheon with a few other local classmates to begin plans for our 50th high school reunion. Our class president and secretary live only a town or two away so we gathered enough old grads to begin the task.

I didn’t see Missy around the yard one day and I kept looking for her…….she didn’t even come home when it was time to be shut up in the garage that evening. The next day was the same as was the second evening. The next morning, my two house cats, Morris and Tuffy, woke me making noise as they struggled to get under the blinds to see something. I got up….and sure enough; Missy was sitting on the deck looking spry as ever. She never did tell me where she went or why but she never did that again. Cat owners know the hole they leave in your heart when they disappear without warning.

Jonathan called to tell me that the Cat-scan came out about the same as before, on his Becky’s lungs. Actually it wasn’t good news because the doctors had given her stronger chemo and it should have shrunk the cancer spots. I was very worried about her prognosis but she looked great and was living each day normally. She had a job she loved…….first year out of high school….and her life was good. She and Jonathan were engaged and planned to marry after the cancer was gone. I prayed it would happen for them.

On good days I would sit on the deck with Missy and I spent a lot of time thinking. It had been two years since Bear died and I took inventory of my life after living it alone these two years. I kept feeling like I had a job to do……that I wasn’t made to be out of the harness, so to speak. I did a lot of writing and thinking…..getting to know what I wanted to do and working on some of the projects I had started and not finished because I never had the time.

I finished a hand-made quilt that mom and I had pieced together. I set it together so she could see it and planned to hand quilt it on my visits to the nursing home. I never got to do that because mom died before I threaded the first needle. It became a labor of love…..I wanted to finish that quilt and use it…..some mothers and daughters are not close but we were. I respected her and learned from her. Finishing the quilt had been my priority up to now. It was finished. One day it will be passed on to the family and appreciated anew. I use it because I’ve never owned anything to set on a shelf. To me, the only way to enjoy your treasures is to use them….. but treat them well.

I drove a friend to Springfield to the doctor because she was afraid to drive in traffic. Who else, but a retired Driver Examiner, to answer the call? After her appointment a storm came up so I told her to wait in the building while I went for the car. The wind was unreal……it blew an older woman down on the sidewalk and injured her….. medics came from the building to help. Once I was free of the building I was blown into a parked car. The thought struck me that in this case, a pedestrian hit a car for a change instead of the other way around. I was almost on the brink of being alarmed at the wind gusts when I made it to the car and was then able to pick Opal up. I got out to help her as she was unsteady on her feet anyway. A cold front coming through caused the freak winds according to the weatherman on the evening news.

Later in the month we drove to the Lake of the Ozarks to spend the weekend with our friends, Frank and Betty Bryant. It was always a pleasant “get-a-way” for us. We had been friends many years and were now all retired except Becky……we never went to see them without going to Versailles…..a little town north of them where Mennonites had an old fashioned General Store. It was like going back in time to buy things out of barrels and boxes…..all carefully packaged and marked. Another area we enjoyed was the Outlet Mall on the other side of the lake. It was beautifully designed with trees and flowers….nice architecture and benches to sit along the way. A paradise for serious shoppers.

By the end of February my rash was worse than ever. My feet were cracked and raw and I was absolutely miserable. I tried everything anyone suggested, along with the routine Dr. Laughlin had me on. Nothing worked except the rash…..it was thriving on all of it. I was in a muddle, thinking of what to do to rid myself of this malady. I couldn’t reason that this was psoriasis as Dr. Laughlin insisted…….why would it suddenly appear and go all over my body when with others, it only affected spots here and there? Bear had psoriasis for years and it never went beyond his elbows, and a few places on his scalp.

I know it’s silly to go to a doctor and then not believe in them……but surely there was an answer somewhere that could help me. I was to the place I would undergo anything to be rid of the rash………but first I had to find the way.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


On the first day of 1999 Becky came down and had breakfast with me. She stayed till after noon because she brought black-eyed peas for our lunch…..any old Southerner knows you simply have to have them the first day of the year for luck in the year ahead. Now I suppose there is a good reason for the tradition but since I’m a “move in” (back in 1945) I never really knew why or thought to ask. Some of you may know the answer but I do know the tradition is taken seriously in these parts.

It began sleeting in the afternoon and it was cozy to be in. I crocheted all day and Becky did some cross-stitch. The sleet stuck to everything during the night and the power went off at 2:30 a.m. It wasn’t restored until noon that same day. I dressed as warm as I could (our home is all-electric) but Becky had a propane kitchen stove so kept bringing hot coffee down and a bowl of hot chili at noon. It was getting pretty cold by then and I was grateful to see the electricity back on.

The sleet froze the bird feeders so I went out periodically to unplug them and to scatter feed on the ground. In severe weather they really suffer but people make the effort to feed at those times. My heater didn’t work in the absence of power so their water was also frozen. Many of the trees as far as I could see were burdened with the weight of ice and at these times we pray no wind will come as it snaps more branches off and the smaller bent trees break off at the trunk.

The year started out with severe weather and lasted until the 10th of the month before the ice began melting. I always feel sorry for the animals that must endure the hardship of winter and for the working folks who have to get out in it. I well remember those cold winter days and how miserable it could be giving driving tests.

I had dental and dermatology appointments in Springfield on the 11th and I was thankful the roads were open so I could make the drive. I did a 360 degree turn getting out of our driveway but by the time I made it to the main street I didn’t have any more problems. Dr. Laughlin thought my rash was better so gave me another prescription and told me to keep using it. My tooth problem was a crown that came off and not a broken tooth as I feared. Dr. Beasley replaced it with a temp and I was on my way home, shortly.

I hadn’t been hearing well at all so I had an appointment with our local clinic to have my ears checked. Our PA took one good look and headed for the irrigation equipment…..when she finished I could hear a pin drop out in the waiting room. I was amazed but more so when she showed me what came out of my ears. Unbelievable. It seems the rash I had kept sloughing off into my ear canal and over six months it amounted to me hearing less and less. I was so happy to discover it wasn’t something I had to accept permanently or chalk up to “old age.” I finally won one of the battles. I was gaining confidence all the time. A few good things were beginning to go my way.

John and Barbara had invited Becky and me to attend the Mardi Gras Ball with them as Barbara was in one of the crews. George was invited also and we arranged for him to drive here and then go with Becky and me. Becky and I bought long dresses for the Ball and fortunately my rash was well covered. It was not on my face or hands so I felt comfortable in going. We left the next morning and ran into heavy rain not far from home. I drove to Memphis, Becky drove to Jackson and George drove the rest of the way. Traffic was heavy, of course, but we made the trip fine. When we arrived at 5:00 p.m. everyone was home to greet us. John fixed a catfish and shrimp supper and we had a talk-a-thon until very late. It is such a treat for all of us to be together we didn’t slow down until late…..and then crashed.

The next day was “the dance.” The day was spent in high expectations and preparations for the evening. Barb and John made sure we were versed on when to be ready, how we would get there, etc; We arrived at the Ball and were shown our table…… the decorations and festivities were such a joy to watch. I don’t think anyone can celebrate Mardi Gras like folks around New Orleans. The long line of the crews danced around in individual costumes and the promenade ended with the King and Queen appearing and taking their seats to observe the festivities of the night. I know there isn’t a king or queen anywhere whose clothing could compare to the flash and intricate beauty of their attire. The Queen was dazzlingly beautiful and her movements were grandiose and dramatic in a white gown with a train a mile long. She was literally covered with sequins. The King was regal and his clothing was very colorful.

After all the pomp and circumstance we were given the night to dance away. To tell you how it felt to be in a long dress and dance with each of my sons at the Mardi Gras Ball is impossible. On a scale of 1 to 10.…..it was 1,000. Once in a while something happens in motherhood to make you sure there is no greater joy than being someone’s mother. In my case, three “someone’s.”

It is an occasion that will forever be kept in that place where I house all favorite memories……one place in time that can never be duplicated.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Monday, November 07, 2005


I thought we were having an unusually warm Fall but in researching my diary for 1998 I see the first part of December was so warm I had the house open with no heat for the first week or so. I do love fresh air and always hate it when I have to close down for heat or air conditioning….however, it’s important in the Ozarks. We are far enough South that we get terribly hot and humid in the deep summer months.

It was time to get the Christmas cards out and this was BTP….before the computer. I was still laboriously writing notes in as many as 90-some cards. I hate to get “just a card” with nothing in it. My mother and her sisters were writing each other all the time and never thought of sending any kind of card without a letter. Traditions are hard to break. Since then, in my older age….help came calling in the shape of a square box. That little miracle can send my thoughts, greetings and pictures anywhere in the world. An amazing invention once it is understood to one’s advantage.

I had the usual seasonal events to attend and managed to cover up my rash enough to hide it. Some days I hurt so bad I didn’t accomplish anything so I learned to get things done when I could and when I was out of commission I read or wrote. I was amazed how this disease could debilitate my strength like it had but I was fortunate because it didn’t keep my brain from crawling back out of a deep hole each time. I simply was not going to let it rob me of the precious days God had granted me. Some days I won and other days….. “it won.” Kinda like the white dog, black dog story.

Mid-month I made my annual fruit and nut cakes. Barbara’s mother made this cake and shared her family recipe with me. She was such a wonderful cook I always came home with lots of recipes and ideas. I had not cared for the typical commercial fruit cakes but hers was to die for. With 2 quarts of pecans it got my attention. Pecans are a good thing in my book. Her recipe only used candied pineapple and red and green candied cherries. Add a pound of white raisins and you’re looking at the best fruit cake you ever ate. (I’m getting hungry here.)

I kept busy making the families favorite sweets and boxing up to send them. With all of them working and far from home they appreciate baking and candy making more than anything. I have such good memories of the children working along with me in the kitchen and fixing their own little box of cookies. I had several friends in during the evening hours and we shared gifts and news of families.

George arrived on the 22nd for his birthday. We have been fortunate to share a lot of those with him because it is so near Christmas. This year I had crocheted him a one-of-a-kind afghan in an oatmeal tweed…….designed special, just for him. I was pleased that he liked it. I am always thankful that the family appreciates hand made items. Position or money has not deferred their gratitude for the labor of love it takes to make something like that. It wouldn’t be much fun to make things if they weren’t appreciated.

We had a traditional Christmas meal on Christmas Day and enjoyed our gifts again that we opened the night before. We shared phone calls all around when John, Barb and LJ called and then again when Jennifer called. It’s always fun to hear what everyone got for Christmas and to thank them for ours…..it isn’t dimmed at all because we can’t be together. Mr. Bell invented something long ago that brings the family close enough to laugh and talk with and that’s pretty great.

George went home the day after Christmas and I put the house back in order. On the last day of the year, I raked and burned leaves in George’s lot until late afternoon. The woods were brown with leaves on the ground and the trees still holding some of them back until Spring. I could hear squirrels rattling around in the leaves chasing each other and running up and down the trunks of the trees. They were feeling frisky…..I suppose they could feel a change in the air. Winter was coming………..

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Saturday, November 05, 2005


October 1st in 1998 came in on a Thursday. The next day, Gene Autry died at the age of 91 and Roddy McDowell died the day after that from incurable cancer…he was 70. The first time I saw him was in “My Friend Flicka” with Elizabeth Taylor. The movie launched both of them into a full-scale career. I was their same age and kept up with them throughout their rise to fame and fortune.

Ever since I contracted Fibromyalgia I had been walking once or twice a day for pain management. Becky walked with me in the evenings after she came from work. With light medication to help me have restorative sleep at night I began improving slowly. That and the daily walks were doing their job to combat the weakness and pain. I was going through a series of wild extremes due to the fact my immune system was totally bushwhacked and my body was trying to get back on track. The body I had lived in all those years suddenly trapped me into one I couldn’t understand. None of the past remedies worked at all……it was open season and I had no ammunition.

For relief I watched the World Series play-offs. It was a wonderful diversion from my misery. It was the year Sammy Sosa and “Big Mac” were each attempting to break Roger Maris’ home-run record and the whole country was caught up in it. The Yankee’s played the Padre’s for the Series and won four straight games. Football was underway so I was focused on that after baseball was over.

By now I was getting Triamcinolone by the pound jar. I slathered it all over my body morning and night and at times I used a spaghetti fork to rake across my back the itching was so unbearable. I had that plus an ointment for my face and a different one for my scalp. My days were filled with pills, applications and ointments. I was stuck at home because the rash was unsightly and I wanted to spare the public-at-large of trying to avoid me. My world was now defined by the confines of the house and yard. Becky came every day and put the ointment on my back and then to eat supper with me. I’ve always been a ‘home body’ so that part wasn’t difficult for me.

We drove to Shawnee to visit George on the 9th and spent a long weekend…..returning home on Monday. We enjoy good eating places and shopping when we go to see George. He is a relaxed host and it is fun to see his newest project on the house or lawn. Later that same week I went to the dermatologist for a biopsy of my back. She couldn’t figure why the Triamcinolone hadn’t worked to clear the rash up. I came home knowing no more than I did before.

The weather was typically lovely as it always is in October. I spent a good part of my days getting leaves up and burning them. I was outdoors most of the time because I wanted to enjoy every aspect of the beautiful weather. By the end of the month there was little yard work to do. I went back to the Dermatologist right after the first of November and she thought the Motrin was causing my rash so she took me off it and then gave me a stronger ointment to use. She sent results of my visit to my Internist and he called a different pain killer in to my local pharmacy. I was hopeful but not expecting a miracle…..this malady had drug on and on until I didn’t think I would ever have normal skin again.

In fact, the pain medication didn’t work at all. I stiffened up and had unbearable pain any time I moved. After a few days I went back to the Motrin on my own. It had been impossible to get anything done without it. After a few days I began to loosen up again and was able to do the chores that needed doing. The weather turned cool and cloudy with snow showers occasionally….nothing that stuck.

One evening a little black cat was crying across the road from our place….I hadn’t noticed her on my walks but this evening was drippy and soggy outdoors….she was crying for help. Well…..I couldn’t stand it. I coaxed her to the yard with milk and feed and eventually got her to come to the front porch. She left after eating and I wondered if she would return. The next morning she was waiting on the porch for me to come out. That began a long and loving friendship that lasted until March of last year. We were two little souls who needed some comfort…..and we will travel her journey as the months pass on.

The weather stayed nice the whole month of November on the whole. My rash never got better and Christmas was near. I just made it through each day with the determination that I wasn’t going to lay down and quit. Somehow, I knew there were answers and I intended to find them……..

Until Monday,
Essentially Esther

Friday, November 04, 2005


Today was quite different from most days. A lady friend was coming for lunch….a weekly event for the two of us since our husbands passed away just a few months apart, some years ago. After Rocky and I married, we continued our lunch dates to share news of our families or news about town. It’s a regular “Mayberry” life we have here in Willow Springs.

Before she came I hurried out to the Vet with our last two stray kitties to receive their shots and for the female to be spayed. The younger cat, a male we named Chevy because he lived under cars at the Chevrolet Dealership, came back home because he was too young yet to be neutered. Another 3 weeks should be about right, according to the Vet.

The clock was getting around to the time I needed to start lunch so I decided to write my blog later, after I took my friend home. As they always say….. “a funny thing happened on the way to whatever”……as we drove back to her house to drop her off, the sun was at an angle to amplify the color of the trees about town. In fact, they were so beautiful I decided to take my friend for a little drive to enjoy the gorgeous colors. I was sorry I didn’t have my camera to snap some of the ones that were especially beautiful and after I had Opal safely home, I did just that.

I was a tree hugger for sure. Any place I saw one with the best color, I’d park the car quickly, jump out and snap. This exercise went on until I was satisfied with my efforts. Then, on a hunch, I decided to drive to the cemetery because I remembered how pretty the trees were last year. I had a field day taking pictures before I noticed a burial was in process. Then I noticed a Marine Honor Guard and figured it must be either a service man or a retired vet. I was standing at the graves of my brother and Bear who both served during wartime….I figure they were both standing at the gate to welcome him….another old vet who had finished his last tour of duty.

I came home and fed all the critters and settled in to fix supper for Rocky and Becky and me. Finally, I sat down to write my blog. My little head full of the nice day I’d had, I wrote blissfully along……….then when I went to post….disaster struck. I guess my day had been too great so Murphy decided to pay a call. For some weird reason my title wouldn’t bring up the blog and it wouldn’t post. When I tried to find the blog it was no where to be found and a blank kept coming up for my title.

Well……this is the way it is. To make a long story short…..August and September were real bummers for me. The two pages I wrote in detail go like this…..a mystery pain all over my body, very severe, couldn’t sleep much either month, and things went from bad to worse. I was low on energy and forcing myself to do simple household tasks. Yard work was torture. In the end, after all the drama and suspense, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia……a word I’d never heard of and didn’t know anything about. It knew a lot about me before I knew much about it. I didn’t like the familiarity it enjoyed with my body and I was stuck in something I couldn’t get rid of. It takes a lot of research to learn how to live peacefully with the demon who knows how to hurt you real good. I received good information and was on the road to recovering some of the ground I lost when a strange rash began spreading all over my body. It was as itchy as poison ivy, yet that wasn’t the culprit. My palms and the bottom of my feet cracked open and I was about as miserable as one person can be. I made another long visit back to the doctor who made an appointment for me with a good dermatologist.

I had no experience with a dermatologist but we became fast friends. She liked my money and I hoped for a cure. Ah yes……a marriage made in heaven. Well, our short affair will have to wait for tomorrow when I shall return……..

Until then,
Essentially Esther


Well, I kept my word and wrote a blog today but somehow it is lost in the pc and I’m trying to find it. At this late date, I’m giving up and will have to try again tomorrow. Right now I’m pretty mad at my computer. (Of course, it is IT’S fault.) See you tomorrow I hope……….

Essentially Esther

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Well the Ozarks are about as pretty as we get at this time of year. In fact, we have remained warmer this Fall than I can remember. Today it is predicted we will reach 75-80 degrees which will break a record for our area. The leaves are not quite in full color yet but are getting close and if the wind doesn’t blow them off the trees today, this weekend should be the crowning glory of the season. We are to receive gusts up to 40 miles an hour which will curtail any burning today.

October is usually our best month and it was up to it’s reputation…..here it is November 3rd and we are still basking in Indian Summer. It has been a most unusual year for everyone. I correspond with relatives and friends all over the country who tell me they are having the same “unusual weather.” It seems Winter goes to Summer and Summer goes to Winter again, bypassing Spring and Fall each time. This year we had no Spring but lucked out with a glorious Fall. I guess we can’t complain, knowing the devastation the hurricanes and fires, mudslides and the like have caused others.

October and November are months I take note of. My father’s and brother’s birthdays were in October and both died in November. My mother died in October and was buried the last day. The children’s grandmother Strain’s birthday was the first of November…….so with all of the pleasant holidays sprinkled here and there and the poignant memories, I never feel sad, just fulfilled, somehow. My departed family feels very close during this time as Nature yawns and takes her rest.

With the harvests safely in and Winter sure to come we take advantage of every good day and look forward to the holidays and family times. This year, we have little Brady Scott who will join us in our gatherings. It is with the knowledge that the elder family is no longer with us but another generation is already budding on the family tree….. that we know our legacy lives on. Life, like Nature, is always in a state of change and that’s a “good thing.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay says it best for me in her poem, “God’s World.”

“Lord, I do fear Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year. My soul is all but out of me…….”

Tomorrow we go back to Esther’s story. Until then,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Just a little note to let my faithful readers know I’m still around. As you can tell by Becky’s blog site, we have been very busy getting a new family member here and playing host to aunt Jennifer and uncles, Marc and George. It would have been complete with John and Barbara but they miss many family functions due to distance. I am so thankful for computers and what little ability I have to converse with many of you….. and especially my family.

I had been urged by my three children each time we’d be together to get a pc and learn to use it. I was not interested until I saw a news clip about how golden aged folks in a nursing home used pc’s to communicate with their families. They were much older than I am, of course, (being only 39) but their expertise put me to shame. Surely if they could do it, I could do it…..right?

Becky had a head start on me but I was determined to go the distance. I will admit I had some big collisions here and there and at times, I’m sure Becky would have liked seeing me give it up……but she stuck with me, and John gave me good instruction when I would call with my train wreck. Eventually, the many notes I took sunk into my information center and I have been soaring higher all the time. I still stub my toes here and there but as a trained monkey I do as good as I need……for now. I still want to learn more.

Thanks to blogging I have almost finished the family history as I know it for my children. It is my gift to future generations so they will know from a personal standpoint that their forbearers were more than just a name in a book. I have, along with other elders, been able to visit with my family as I desired…..but the unknown factor was that I’ve met a lot of really fine folks out there in blog-land. You have come into my life as I have come into yours and I have learned much from you.

The good old days are gone forever and some of the changes I have not liked….but when I see the goodness of people still prevalent on every level I know the future is in good hands. I have been privileged to know some of the young people who in their time will make our country strong.

I will soon return to finish the Esther story and in the meantime I pray life is good for you and yours.

Until then,
Essentially Esther