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Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Today Rocky goes for a CT on his abdomen. He contracted a virus in January that left him with abdominal pain that wants to hang around. After trying every “over the counter” medication he is tired of trying to doctor himself and decided to go with the sure bet to find what’s going on. He’s normally fun loving and carefree but for six weeks he has been miserable. It’s time to hit the “cure” button.

His appointment is 10:30 so lunch should come soon after the CT since he can’t have food or drink before the procedure. I doubt we’ll find out anything today, but if we do…..I’ll post it.

Until then,
Essentially Esther

Monday, February 27, 2006


In winding up my long series of family writing, John was surprised I didn’t mention Katrina. I suppose I’m like everyone else who doesn’t live there. It’s easy to forget it when you aren’t slapped in the face with the aftermath. I keep hearing stories from folks who ARE living it and who are painfully reminded every time they wake up and look around.

We began taking notice from the weather channel when they pointed to the map and said this larger storm was out in the Atlantic…..and they were expecting it to hit the U.S. hard. As the days went by and they talked about a number “five” hurricane….everyone took notice. The forecasters didn’t give any reason to doubt them….how can you scoff at someone who has spent their life looking at storms coming out of Africa.......just because it’s never happened before?

The islands and coastlines in a probable path began preparing for a storm so huge it could wipe out anything in it’s path. This was a serious hurricane. I began feeling uneasy since John and the family live just 45 minutes away from New Orleans. John was a bit of a “storm chaser”…..being raised in Kansas he was effectively fascinated with big storms. Well…..we had a few big “land storms” in Kansas but nothing that could breath fire and destruction like Katrina was built up to be. At least in Kansas you get blown away, not hammered with horizontal wind and flooded.

As a young girl I had my first lesson in flooding. When I was in the third grade, my parents bought our very own home….that was a big deal at the time. Coming out of the depression my dad sweat blood to save enough money to make a down payment on a middle-class house. It had a basement but a dirt floor and just enough room to get to the back and shovel coal in the furnace. Dirt walls were shoulder high on my mother and dad worked hard to shovel more dirt out to put cement block walls in.

…..then WE got the big storm. A heavy rain that didn’t stop for days. It was summer and no one had been down to fire the furnace. Mom went down to the basement for something and walked out in water up to her calves. She let out something like “oh my gosh” which brought me down the steps in a hurry. She said, “Don’t come down here, it’s full of water.” I looked across the bottom and it looked fine to me……well…..you know how much kids listen to their mothers…..I was sure she was mistaken.

I stepped off what I thought was the last step into water up to my gazeebee’s. I had on my new fuzzy house slippers………and yup…..ruined on the spot. Mom was plainly irritated with me for not listening to her and I got myself back upstairs, minus the house shoes. It was sad for my mother. Her trunk that she kept all of the memento’s in was floating in the water and the contents were pretty much history.

At the time I didn’t realize the gravity of losing the family articles. My first little books….my “Suzie the Shy Little Mouse” book that drove everyone to nickname me Suzie….to my first little dresses, made by my grandmother……on and on for all of us….the precious keepsakes were gone. Water would have been one thing but the mud that accompanied the water was too much to save the souvenirs.

John and Barb had been flooded a couple of times with water backing up from the sewer into their home…..and they had their share of loss from flooding. When the big blow was eminent John sent Barbara and Bear over to Baton Rouge to stay with L.J. for safety. Loss of power and facilities was always the norm when a hurricane hit. John opted to stay at the hospital where several others were to ride out the storm. They transported most or all of the patients from the hospital and I’m not sure if any were left or not. John can line us out when he comments.

His documentary of the storm approaching was germane. He wrote about everything from Katrina’s first preparations to the aftermath following. His story still gets first hand information out to those of us who are no longer informed of the recovery unless it’s negative. John is in an excellent occupation for he is able to see things as an observer and report what he sees…..without an agenda or political implications. I know he is the same with his patients. Objectivity with reason and understanding.

He was a voice to take us through the experience with him. It transcended into a drama on a magnitude none of us had ever experienced before. The sound of the wind eventually gave way to bulldozers, linemen, saws and the tools needed to clean up the mess. There has been finger pointing and name calling but the fact remains it was a storm of which no one could have prepared for.

Some things just can’t be avoided with all of our science and technology. Katrina will go down as one of the worst recorded in recent history. (To read his accounts, go to his archives on his site.)

Katrina wasn’t much of a lady but you have to admire her power.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Friday, February 24, 2006


Today is the beginning of some new writing. Rather than writing of the past, I am now able to write of the present and the future. It’s odd how our days take on meaning. Today was tomorrow once and it will also be yesterday once. It’s all just a matter of time…… and our days change.

I suppose the good thing to do would be to make them all as good as we can and therefore the past, present and future will be pleasant to recall or to look forward to. I have always been a lover of poetry….I am a hopeless romantic and poetry speaks to me. I believe we each have a secret place where we go for refreshing…..whether it is song or poetry, art or nature…..there is a language understood only by our heart.

I have spent over two years writing about my mother and father’s families and I have many items in my home from days gone by. Things that once were loved by them and now are mine…..I have become the keeper for a little while and I shall love them for a time before they are passed on to someone else. We are all keepers of the past and benefactors of the future.

My mother loved poetry and copied poems she found and wanted to keep. Poems that spoke to her. They were written on note paper, on the backs of scratch paper or napkins…..whatever was handy at the time. Whenever she read one that she liked she found a way to preserve it. She had a box of them cut from magazines and papers….yellowed with age and many of them committed to memory. One she often quoted is one of my favorites so I’ll share it with you. Maybe it will brighten your day sometime as it did for her.

There Are Loyal Hearts

There are loyal hearts, there are spirits brave,
There are souls that are pure and true;
Then give to the world the best you have,
And the best will come back to you.

Give love, and love to your heart will flow,
A strength is your utmost need:
Have faith, and a score of hearts will show
Their faith in your word and deed.

For life is the mirror of king and slave,
‘Tis just what you are and do;
Then give to the world the best you have,
And the best will come back to you.

By Madeline S. Bridges

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, February 23, 2006


The month of January was not only a new year but a new beginning for me because I went back to work at the Antique Barn part-time. It came about rather unexpectedly but after I decided to do it I was glad. It was nice to fit back into the old routine.

We didn’t have much bad weather in January and the month went by quickly. Napoleon decided to stay with us and each night we watched him fly up into our big oak tree in the front yard to roost. He is quite a picture in the top of the tree as the sun goes down……which is later and later as the days go by.

We have our routine worked out pretty well. On the days I work, the three outside kitties, Callie, Chevy and Lovey come running when they see the car. They have realized on those days I will return the way I left so they sit out front watching the street. When they see our car they run to meet me…..it’s a nice welcome home.

Napoleon is close behind because whatever the cats do, he wants in on it. He spends a large part of his day following them around and hoping they’re scared of him. He makes a rustling sound with his tail feathers all fanned out and the cats usually run past him or go the other way. He loves it.

As strange as it seems I have caught up to the present time…..February 2006. Just two years and forty nine days since I began the odyssey of the Andersen’s and the Stricklett’s and how I came to be. I have loved them all and they have left their mark on me. I am who I am because of the lives I saw them live through the good times and the bad.

We are an imperfect bunch…..and I’m glad. We had a pastor once who said some Christians he was around were so perfect and syrupy he didn’t like being around them. Our family wasn’t wealthy, famous or noteworthy and we could never be guilty of being so sweet and syrupy a preacher couldn’t stand us. We have skeletons in the closet but I don’t reckon so many we couldn’t shut the door.

I’m glad to come from hard working common people. I’m glad I’ve had to do without at times and glad I had a lot of troubles knocking at my door. I’m glad to have lived a real life without someone trying to spare me the trials. I would have missed so much and been emotionally bankrupt at this time of life.

I realize I am coming to the end of my journey but I am not afraid. I have watched better people than me face death with courage…. and die with confidence in their faith. I am a simple woman who has had an ordinary life….but I have lived and I have loved…..and greatly. That is the gift I leave for my children. This is the story of how they came to be and that they were loved….greatly.

…..and now they have their own stories to write.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


September was quiet. Jonathan and Aimee celebrated their wedding anniversary….I believe it was number three for them. Aimee delivered their first child in October and Becky was at last a grandmother. Little Brady Scott was a cutie and arrived with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. The kids were dumbfounded but took it in stride.

Aimee had been born with six fingers on one hand and Jonathan was born with six toes on one foot. They decided he was blessed to receive two with each extremity. Jonathan, ever the clown, said, “Well, look at it this way. He can count to 12 without running out of fingers!”

We were happy Jennifer and Mark were able to make a trip from Connecticut to see their new little nephew by the time he was home from the hospital. George drove down at the same time to add to the Brady event. It’s such a treat to get to visit with family we don’t get to see very often. Jennifer was between jobs and had a little extra time before going to her new job. She and Mark have stressful occupations with long hours and I’m sure it was nice for them to have a change of pace….however brief.

Little Brady went to surgery a few weeks later and had the extra fingers removed……in another month or so he will have the toes removed. He’ll be a little older and the surgery will be more difficult because of the bones in the toes. Hopefully by the time he needs to be walking he will be healed and ready to wear shoes.

He looked so cute with his little hands in splints and bandaged. He was too young to know it was strange and mom and dad had to learn how to duck. He could be pretty good at smacking them with his weapons. Becky got to baby sit the other night but because of the snow I didn’t go up to see him. Hopefully when the weather is nicer I will see more of Brady and his family. It’s the age we live in……mom and dad both work and Brady is kept by either them, his maternal grandmother or at times, a baby sitter.

We planned to go to Shawnee to celebrate Thanksgiving with George which we’ve done the past few years…..this year we backed out at the last minute because of Brady’s surgery and Becky wanted to be on hand for that….and to help if she could. We had a small dinner here with Becky, Jonathan, Aimee and Brady.

December came along with another Powerlifting Meet for Rocky. He is a masters lifter, and set U.S. and world records, beating his own record. He is really into the camaraderie of the young lifters and makes it to practice with them several times a week to stay in shape for the next meet. Rocky doesn’t have hobbies or collections and so this gives him an outlet with the guys and keeps him physically active. Everyone at the gym knows Rocky……he’s an inspiration to them all. His next meet is the 11th of March.

On his December meet, his daughter Holly and her family from Neosho, and his son Michael who also lives in Neosho, came to watch and to support their dad. The next weekend we had them all back for our late Thanksgiving meal with them and to celebrate three of the family birthdays together. George arrived on the 23rd and we celebrated his birthday and then Christmas. Becky, Jonathan, Aimee and Brady added to the day and gift opening.

The year 2005 was over. A year can make a lot of difference in our journey…..but if you come to the end of it and can be thankful and grateful…..I would say, it was a good year.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I wrote about our August Stricklett Reunion last year when we attended. I’m reprinting it for the record…….August 2005.…Blair, Nebraska.

Stricklett family reunion August 20, 2005 Blair, NE

Have you ever wanted to roll the calendar back and be a kid again? Even better, a kid at your grandmother’s house with the cousin’s to play with? It can happen and it did happen in our family. A Nebraska cousin decided someone had better make the effort because there hadn’t been one since our aunt Mary died.

The reunions were always in Nebraska, at grandma’s house and in August. Grandma’s birthday was the 20th, aunt Mary’s was the 18th. The “Reunions” started when uncle Tom and aunt Inabelle moved to Washington D.C. in 1940. They came home every year for grandma’s birthday and all of the Stricklett siblings who could, came back at the same time. It was wonderful in those days because my cousins and I were all young and grandma and our aunts and uncles were very productive and there was much merriment and stories over days gone by.

Grandma’s house became a hotel for everyone. We were bedded everywhere from the floor to the ceilings and we ate in shifts. There were six aunts and uncles, their spouses and a bevy of cousins. On the day of the reunion, grandma and the “girls” were in the kitchen frying chickens that were home grown, making potato salad and baked beans…….various other side dishes and desserts. When the time came, everyone headed for the City Park where the swimming pool was with lots of playground equipment. The men and some of the boys would go earlier in the morning to save the largest shelter for our picnic.

As a young girl it was fun to hang around the kitchen and listen to the aunts as they laughed and talked together and prepared the food. By the time we were assembled at the park everyone was eager to eat the bounty brought by the family. Each year it was the same and each year another cousin or two would be added. As the years went by……..we cousins married and began having children of our own. Our family grew to a large number but as it must be……some of the numbers began leaving us. One by one they disappeared until the death of aunt Mary ended the reunions in 1987, at least as we knew them, then.

Earlier this year our cousin Bruce sent out emails asking if anyone would be interested in coming together for a reunion of the Stricklett’s. With the death of my brother it left 16 cousins, one aunt who was a Stricklett, and an aunt and uncle by marriage. He received a resounding “yes” from everyone and we stepped up to be counted. Only three would be absent. One cousin was in the process of moving to Arizona, one couldn’t come due to a new job and only one was deceased….my brother.

We came by planes, trains and automobiles. But we came. We came from all over the U.S. to assemble once again where our roots ran deep and sound. It reminded me of the movie, “Cocoon” where the elderly people jumped into the pool and became kids again. We each had grown up with different cousins and so they were sought out along with squeals of recognition and laughter at pot bellies, balding heads, wrinkles and cellulite. It didn’t matter. For a few magical hours we were all kids again and having the time of our lives. It was fun showing off our own kids, many of whom made the effort to come and had only heard about some of the cousins from their parents. In my case, we picked George up in Shawnee and then John arrived at the KCI terminal just five minutes before we picked him up. Becky wasn’t able to come because of a broken leg.

After leaving the park, some of us assembled at Joy and Dan’s home where they have renovated grandma’s old house into a beautiful work of art……with a yard of flowers, a quiet patio and a trickling pool. It is a work of love and the house is filled with three generations, coming and going……..bringing a lot of energy with them.

As we drove away from the house where my brother and I were born I was wondering…..what would the old house say if it could talk? Would it say that we were happy? Would it say that we stood proud? How I wish that I could listen, if that old house talked out loud!

Thanks to Bruce and all the cousins who put the time and effort in to make it happen. We have exchanged email addresses and our love for each other……God keep you all….until we meet again.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Sunday, February 19, 2006

JUNE AND JULY....2005 

Well, the Ozarks are familiar with strange and unusual things but I have to admit, what I’m going to write about even has old timers scratching their heads. Becky had a guest who was sitting on her garden bench, reading a book, when his peripheral vision noticed movement. He looked straight into the face of an inquisitive and very large bird with strange markings and a crown on his head.

Being a city guy he came on the run to see if I might know what kind of creature this was. He said it looked like some kind of an exotic bird. From his rather excited description I thought it might be a wild turkey because of the size he indicated. Little could I expect what I was about to see. I went back with him hoping to get a glimpse before the “thing” moved on. I took my camera just in case we needed to identify the critter.

Napoleon the peacock

When we walked back to Becky’s yard, there he was, a young peacock, grazing through Becky’s flower garden. I took a lot of pictures because I figured he’d move on and I wanted Becky and Rocky to see what found us. I came home and thought that was the end of it. Eight months later he is still with us. Still very much with Rocky and me.

It started out that he was Becky’s bird. She got on the internet to see what they liked to eat and following the information she tossed slices of bread in small pieces to him along with a dish of dry cat food. He obliged and ate it which pleased us all. Rocky bought a large bag of wild game bird feed and he had a constant bowl of that, fresh water and bread every morning and night. It became a ritual of ours to walk up to Becky’s about dusk, call him like a chicken, and watch him come from the neighbor’s pasture straight to us. He would eat the bread and then fly up to a nearby tree where he spent the night.

We worried and fussed over him and did any and everything we could think of to make him want to stay with us. At times he would spend nights at the neighbor’s house and he took great delight sitting on their porch rail looking in their living room. We found peacocks to be very inquisitive birds….they seem to like investigating everything around them. We thought he had forsaken us and moved on, but no!!! We went through several separations, each time thinking he was gone for good……but just about that time, he would appear once more and enjoy his old routine.

He started coming down here. It was a gradual migration but predictable. The lot between Becky and us belongs to George. That made a perfect parking place for Rocky to put all of the “toys” he brought over from his farm when he sold it. He has an old Mark IV which he keeps for sentimental reasons, a rare ‘75 International pickup which is in poor repair….various and sundry other piles of pipe, dog cages etc;…….all of which attracted the peacock. He began perching here and there because at that time, cats made his life miserable.

They loved to stalk him and then lunge after him which sent him squawking and flying up on one of the buildings. Gradually, I began offering him food since he was close enough now that I could observe his habits. I chased the cats for him and gave him muffins, cake, cookies, cat food, homemade bread and cereals……..of course, his wild bird food along with all the rest. He had a taste for my pancakes and doughnuts, too.

Napoleon the peacock

One evening about dusk he flew up into our large oak tree in the front yard. I was thrilled! Since then he has only been absent a time or two and we have fallen into a routine understood by both of us. He is a fixture in our yard, though he does travel up and down the yards at times, and though Rocky built a cover from the weather on the back of his old pickup, Napoleon still prefers to fly up in the big oak and spend his nights on a high branch. During the day he does take shelter under the tarp on the truck if it’s necessary .

He was named Napoleon by Becky after she asked our blog readers for suggestions. Ellen won the name contest with Napoleon. Becky thought he should have a regal and courageous name since he had to adapt to living in a world foreign to his origins and without the company of his kind. He has become quite tame and anytime I am outside the three kitties come running with Napoleon bringing up the rear. They have all made peace with each other and are growing fat and happy in their new lives.

Napoleon the peacock

….all little strays that were alone, scared and hungry……who found a whole lot of love with the Rockenbach’s. We are the purveyors of the lost……….

Until the next time,
Essentially Esther

Friday, February 17, 2006


For our annual Rockenbach get-to-gather we decided to meet in Iowa at the Amana colonies. I had not been to them and always wanted to visit the area. Rocky and I drove to Marie and Harold’s home in St. Louis and spent the night with them, then the four of us rode together from there to the colonies the next day. We had rooms reserved at one of the motels where we met Richard and Helen who drove in from Illinois.

I think the Rockenbach kids have invented a good way of seeing one another and incorporating a different location each time for added interest. Since it is not at one of our homes, we gals are on vacation for the time we’re together and enjoy eating at different places, shopping, sight seeing…..and just plain being with one another.

Most of us think of the Amish as being basically in Pennsylvania but they have spread across the country from necessity. A very nice man drove us around in his tour bus and was telling us about the Amish way of life. He had been Amish but explained that he wanted to go on with his education and would need to drive a car to the public high school. Traditionally, Amish children are schooled up to the eighth grade which is in a building on their property and taught by an Amish teacher. It was at that time in his life that Frank became a Mennonite.

After riding around a while he stopped at the bakery and we went in for delectable doughnuts, sweet rolls and coffee. I bought some beautiful sounding wind chimes from their gift shop for a souvenir. Later on we stopped again at a dairy and made several purchases there. I snapped a picture of a black buggy and black horse hitched to it in front of the dairy.

As we rode along we enjoyed seeing farmers disking their fields with teams of horses and seeing lines of laundry hung out to dry in the sun. It’s hard to imagine life without electricity. No washing machines as we know them… or dryers……but there was one slight discrepancy when it came to tractors. Frank, our tour guide, said they were allowed to have tractors but only if they had steel wheels. They couldn’t have rubber tires. Most, it apeared, still used horses. He also told us that they were allowed to ride in a car driven by someone else if it was to the doctor or to a funeral. He grinned and said, “We have good doctors here but they want to go to a doctor in a big town so they can shop.” It seems we are all guilty of bending our religion when it is beneficial.

There are something like seven colonies grouped together which make up the Amish area….each like a small town. We tried several different places to eat but I’ll have to confess, the food didn’t come up to my expectations. It was expensive and not very tasty. The bread and sweets at the bakery were the best. Some years ago, a friend of mine brought me a bottle of rhubarb wine from there…..it was sweet and delicious. I’d been thinking about that all these years since and had a glorified notion of getting some of the same. I did buy two bottles but sadly it was sour and I was not able to taste any rhubarb flavor at all. I guess it’s hard to livie up to a memory.

Of course if you visit an Amish community anywhere, you must find a quilt store and see their quilts. Their craftsmanship is excellent and the quilts are truly works of art. However, as with any genuine art-form, they are expensive so save your money before you go. Richard and Helen bought a very nice crib quilt for their granddaughter while we were there.

The Rockenbach’s are all basically retired. Richard and Helen, Marie and Harold all do community service and Rocky and I work part time at something we enjoy. The six of us have different talents, interests, backgrounds and life experiences…..and so when we are together there are volumes of conversation. I knew the Rockenbach kids and their parents when we were all in various levels of school and have rejoined them in our retirement years. I’m very happy to have them in my life again………and Helen and Harold make the package complete.

May slipped away quietly……leaving me one year older……..

Until the next time,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Group shot in Boston
Click the photo for more Boston pictures

In April 2005 George, Rocky and I drove to Boston to see John run his dream. The Boston Marathon. He had been working up to it from his first baby steps and now it was here. We didn’t want to miss it. For a full account of our trip, the race and the outcome, go to my Archives at the left of the page. It is found in April 24th and 25th, 2005. It is under the titles of 109th Boston Marathon and Farewell to Boston….and Our Family

We will be joining him and Barbara again this year, good Lord willing.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I’m almost finished with my two years plus story of the Andersen/Stricklett families and bringing it down to little ol’ me……right down to 2006. Only one more year to write and then I shall need to think of something else. Some of you have been with me on a long journey of family stories and events. You should know me pretty well by now…. and where I came from…..and how we arrived at this point. When I look back over my life and the lives of all those before me, I am amazed. There is a thread all down the pike that mingles and ties all of us together in a long journey of family.

January 2005 on the 4th day was my first anniversary of writing. I didn’t realize it would take so long to write everything I remembered about our ancestors but I wanted each one to be personal and complete. After I’m gone my children will have a very personal history of them all……not a sterile genealogy but my observations from childhood on. It will be a finished work and labor of love. They will have to write their own last chapters……and mine.

The year started out slowly. Rocky was back driving and I was spending a lot of time taking care of Missy, my little black outside kitty. She was a love. Somehow she came down with a strange neurological disease and after a year or so was unable to stand up to eat. She became so weak I brought her into the household to the amazement of the other three kitties who live inside. They seemed to know she was helpless and gave her a respectful personal space.

With my care and attention to her needs, Missy was inside for 15 months. I made a bed for her on one of the chairs in the living room and she was propped up enough that she could eat laying down. I carried her to the litter box and held her so she could have a semblance of normal elimination. When we went to Kansas City to see George, Missy went along. We met the Rockenbachs for a short visit in Sikeston one time and Missy went along. She traveled well on the bed I made for her in the back seat. She was excellent at adapting.

Missy’s ability to compensate for survival and giving up her independence was admirable. I could only imagine how she dealt with her loss of mobility. We had been together since she came to me…..hungry, cold and abandoned in 1997. She went to the garage every night to be locked in for safety and let out each morning. She was my constant companion when I was out in her realm. Often times we sat together on the deck, enjoying the solitude and the company of each other.

Eventually I realized I was keeping Missy in my own selfishness and the inability to give her up. With unbearable sadness I took her to the Vet who put her to sleep in my arms. It was a terrible loss for me but the right thing to do for Missy. I shall always miss her as a family member. She is at rest with Jake and Dara in the back yard where she loved to roam her domain. About the same time, John and Barb had to put their beloved Hobo to sleep and it was a sad time for all of us.

Pets give so much and ask so little. Could we find a friend so loving…so true…so devoted, life would be so much better. Yes, I have good friends but none who suffer with me in sadness or rejoice with me in the good times as the pets I’ve had. When bad news came over the years and I sat and cried……I would feel a nose or a paw on my hand and look into eyes that somehow felt my pain.

To all our dogs and cats who have added all that and more…….you were loved perhaps more than you could ever understand….and you are missed more than you would ever have imagined……

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Since today is Valentine’s Day I am taking a break from my Esther story to wish all of our friends and family a very happy day. I’m sure you will be thinking of days long past as Becky did in her blog for today…. and I hope your memories are good and happy ones……the kind that give you that warm fuzzy feeling.

I wonder how many cards are pasted in scrapbooks that are faded from the years? I know that first Valentine’s Day after Bear died…..I found the Valentine card from the year before and reread it. The personal note he wrote inside was very healing to me at the time. I thought such cards and sentiments were over for me but God had a plan I didn’t know about.

Four years later I received a beautiful porcelain necklace with For-get-me-nots painted on the pendant and gold edging. It was from Mr. Rocky and arrived on Valentine’s Day. A young romance that began over 50 years ago flamed bright and new in our golden years. If you have been allowed to go back and finish a dream you had years ago then you will understand the magic we both felt in finding one another again.

Life is full of surprises and sometimes love comes from unexpected places. I hope you know the fullness of love…….and the joy of giving it away. It’s an unending process. The more you give away….the more you have to give.

It’s strange….but that’s the way it is.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Rocky and Esther!!!!

Monday, February 13, 2006

THE LAST HALF OF 2004...... 

The summer months went by slowly for Rocky. He had been used to being on the road driving all over the country and his job driving for Medicaid patients was a stop-gap for his old trucking days. He couldn’t drive at all now until his 6-month checkup in October. It was exasperating for him to sit in the passenger seat at the mercy of his wife driving.

For 17 ½ years I worked as a Driver Examiner giving driving tests…..and now I was the “student”……. “You’re too close to that car….don’t tailgate him…. you’d better hurry up and pass him before the curve coming up, you’re too close on the right….better get over, how fast are you going, don’t park there….it’s too close to that car, you don’t need windshield wipers…it isn’t raining that hard, you’re going to wear the brakes out……”

I was praying Dr. Ferguson would let him go back to driving when we went in for the next checkup. In fact, I fudged on the doctor’s orders and let him drive the last month before we went to see him. Rocky had already called the man who started up a business in our area to see if he could get a job driving……..Ron, the owner, was delighted to have him since he knew many of the patients and the territory he would be driving in. It all depended on a release from Dr. Ferguson.

Finally the day came in October. Rocky checked out very well and when the idea of driving patients was presented, Dr. Ferguson thought it over before he answered him. I stepped up to the plate and confessed that I’d been letting him drive the past month and he had done very well…….finally after several heartbeats he told Rocky he would release him to drive IF he would continue taking the medication twice a day to prevent another seizure. Rocky would have agreed to have his right arm cut off if he could drive again.

And so….it was decided. Rocky was back home at the wheel….I was over on my side of the van and he was able to drive his patients once more. Life was back to normal except for a scar on the right side of Rocky’s head that looked like an upside down horseshoe. His tongue had healed by then but would always have a rough and ragged area where it was injured. All in all he was satisfied with the whole affair.

We went to George’s for Thanksgiving…. and Christmas was here with George, Becky, Jonathan and Aimee. The year closed out quietly…. and considering the bad things that could have happened, we felt very fortunate to come through an ordeal that might have had a tragic ending.

Like all things, the end of something is always the beginning of something else…..a new year was on the horizon full of hope and new life……

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Friday, February 10, 2006


I was totally amazed with Rocky’s recovery from the surgery. He is a very strong man and a big guy….he bounced back quickly. We had repeated check-ups for a while and then Dr. Ferguson told us there would be no need to see him for six months and we’d have another look to see how healing had progressed.

Rocky was disappointed to have to stay on medication to prevent any further seizures. He talked to the doctor a few times about it but considering the problems he could run into IF he had one while driving, falling on concrete or down stairs…..the results could be catastrophic. Not only to him but to others as well. When he lined it out like that, Rocky gave up and will probably be on the medication the rest of his life. Though disappointing to him, I feel the doctor is probably right. My mother always had a saying for everything and she would have said, “Better safe than sorry.”

Naturally Rocky’s sibling were worried about him and Marie and Harold were able to drive down to see him while he was in the hospital. Richard and Helen live a good deal further away and so it was agreed that the three couples of us would meet in St. Louis for Richard’s birthday in May. Rocky’s recovery was so good that we knew we would be able to make the trip. However, there was one little fly in the ointment.

Rocky began getting a sore throat. He mentioned it a few times and he isn’t a complainer so I didn’t think any more about it. About the time we were to meet the Rockenbach’s in St. Louis, it suddenly became worse. He couldn’t figure it out because he said he’d never had a sore throat like this one before. When I was near him I began noticing he had terrible breath odor. Poor guy was using Listerine mouth wash by the case and it wasn’t helping. It was embarrassing to him and he feared getting around anyone.

We decided to go on to St. Louis and enjoy the weekend….then see his local doctor once we were back. Eating and swallowing were difficult for him but he did his best. Rocky was pretty miserable by the time he saw his doctor. One look and doc made an appointment with an ear, eye nose and throat specialist in Springfield, ASAP.

On the appointed day we reported in and was seen by Dr. Snow. He was a jovial man like I would imagine an old country doctor to be. He looked in Rocky’s throat and said, “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this!!” He continued looking in his mouth with his light and using a tongue depressor……then he said….. “Well, it isn’t your throat at all….it’s your tongue. Right where it bends to go down your throat, there is a big rough ….it looks like something has gouged the meat out. It’s putrid back there and a holy mess.”

He picked up some long scissors and began clipping the dead tissue from the tongue….he kept on until he had it all cleaned out and then put some medication on it. The whole time he was studying about how it could have happened. He asked if Rocky had surgery lately and Rocky said he had. Dr. Snow thought hard for a minute and said, “ I think this is damage from someone trying to put the line down your throat before your surgery. It looks like they gouged it where the tongue makes the bend to go down your throat…..they must have pushed too hard and took the meat with it.”

Rocky remembered the anesthetist asking if he minded two students watching the procedure and he said they could…….we thought maybe one of the students tried to put the tube in his mouth and didn’t do too well……conjecture. We will never know. The funny thing about all of it…..was the fact the tongue thing was much worse and lengthier than the brain surgery……he had suffered with it for over a month before we found out what the problem was.

Well, life isn’t fair……brain surgery is a snap but having a groove gouged out of your tongue takes a while……

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Once we were home from John’s, Rocky got the call from his doctor. He had a tumor on the right side of the brain. He had already scheduled an appointment in Springfield with one of the foremost neurologists, a Dr. Ferguson. My blood froze. Surely this was some cruel mistake. It was the same report that Bear received, on the same side of his brain and we were to see the same neurologist. I could not, in my right mind, believe this could be happening again.

Our appointment was on Thursday and we decided not to panic until we talked with Dr. Ferguson. I kept praying the tumor wouldn’t be malignant. We found his office (he had moved since Bear’s visits) and were shown to an examining room to wait. In due time Dr. Ferguson arrived with the MRI pictures and we introduced ourselves back and forth.

He was very direct and to the point. He showed Rocky the tumor area and told him it was more or less in the dark area of the brain……which he said hadn’t effected his speech and motor skills. However, Rocky had experienced some slurring and the problem with the right eye, along with headaches. Dr. Ferguson said he could see from the MRI that this was undoubtedly a meningioma tumor which was not malignant and once it was out, Rocky should be fine.

He said it had probably been growing for a couple of years to be the size it was but had not protruded into the brain. It was between the skull and lining of the brain. Once it was out, it wouldn’t come back and he should recover fully from the surgery. We were beginning to breath a little easier…..when Dr. Ferguson was done talking Rocky asked me what I thought about the surgery. Before I could answer him he said….. “Don’t you think it should come out as soon as we can set it up?” I agreed and the date was set one week from that day. Surgery would be on the 15th of April.

I asked Dr. Ferguson if he remembered me and I told him about Bear. He did remember and assured me this time I would take my husband home….he was understanding of my concern. It had been seven years since I’d lost Bear and I didn’t want to lose another husband to the same killer. I felt better with his reassurances.

Becky took time off work and went with us on the surgical day……he was checked in and prepped and had an early surgery. Becky and I stayed in the waiting room and settled down as we figured it would be several hours. We went for coffee and a Danish and by the time we came back, Rocky was being taken to ICU, fully awake and doing well.

Becky and I stayed in a motel room connected to the hospital that night and came early the next day to see how Rocky was doing. He was in ICU yet and was sitting in a chair eating breakfast. As we entered the room he looked strangely at us and his left arm and hand began twitching…..then he couldn’t hold his mouth shut and his eyes rolled back in his head. I was terrified. I ran out to the nurses station and told his nurse he needed help. She came on the run and calmly said…… “He’s having a seizure….he’ll be all right….this is common after brain surgery.” She was so convincing I felt a lot better after my initial fright. We left the room while she attended to him and Dr. Ferguson came by to check on him……both telling me he was fine.

Becky went home with our neighbors who came to see Rocky over the weekend as she had to work on Monday. I stayed at the motel across from the hospital and on Tuesday, Dr. Ferguson said if I could take the staples out of Rocky’s incision he would let him go home that day. Otherwise we would have to stay until Thursday when the staples were to come out.

I told them I could do it…..the doctor and his nurse did a trial run with me and sent us home with the small tool to remove them. On Thursday, I did take them all out and Rocky didn‘t feel a thing. His strength came back and he was his old self in no time. It was amazing how one could undergo such serious surgery and in a week to 10 days be almost back to normal.

We didn’t make our trip to Eureka Springs that year. It was too soon after his surgery to try leaving home so we opted to stay put for our third wedding anniversary. We were both too full of gratitude to wish for anything more than a successful surgery and the prognosis that we wouldn’t have to go that route again. Dr. Ferguson made his promise good and we were both very grateful……..

If we are ever prone to take our good health for granted it doesn’t take long for me to realize it is a very special gift…..and one to be appreciated and thankful for.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Rocky had a lot of tests run by his doctor in January. There was no reason for the headaches. On the other hand, my blood pressure began rising which I’d never had problems with before. We sat down one day in February and decided the business wasn’t worth losing our health over. Rocky surprised me by saying we would wind it up March 1st.

He set about selling the vehicles and we got the books in order and sent everything required, to the company in St. Louis. I went with him in March for his MRI and it was hard because Rocky has claustrophobia and had a battle to even begin the process. The attendant came after me in the waiting room and thought I would be a steadying influence. We neither one had been around an MRI before and it was quite intimidating….. even to look at. The noise was terrible but we endured it until the test was finally over.

Becky had been looking forward to her 50th birthday and wanted to celebrate it with all of us in New Orleans and we didn’t want to spoil it for her. We wouldn’t know the results of the MRI until we came home from New Orleans. George drove down from Shawnee and joined the three of us to make the trip. When we got to John and Barb’s it was party time with a bang. The next day we were all going into New Orleans where they had a room rented with a balcony over Bourbon Street. The idea was to eat and shop……do all the usual and if we got tired we could retreat to the room, sit on the balcony and enjoy the sights and sounds. Once you’ve made the rounds, a place to sit back and relax is a good thing.

For those of you who don’t know Becky, she is the one to be with for a good time. Then when you get John with her……it’s almost scary. Where other folks end their celebrating, those two are just getting started. Rocky, George, Barb and I usually find a chair, get out of the way and watch them have fun. Somehow it telegraphs to the rest of us and we all have a good time. Once they get going there is no stopping.

Becky celebrating her 50th in New Orleans

By dark the streets began filling with left over Mardi Gras folks. Some friends of John and Barb’s rode the limo over with us and we were all on the balcony. It was fun to sling beads to the people below…. and everything you’ve ever heard about the tradition is true. When our party left the balcony and our room to join the merrymaking, Rocky and I stayed where we could sit and watch it all. They were going to leave us there all night and come back for us the next day for more shopping and sight seeing. It was sparing us the 45 minute ride back across the Causeway…when you’re old and tired….you’re tired.

I suppose it’s silly to try and sleep on Bourbon Street. The crowds and revelry continued until the wee hours in the morning……when we finally dozed off. New Orleans is a town like no other. It’s always party time in “the big easy.” I don’t know what it is but something there always calls me back. I think John loves it so the rest of us see it the way he does. His friends tell him he is more of a ‘local’ than they are……..he embraces everything the city has to offer.

John and Barb finished out Becky’s birthday at their lovely home. They have always had a houseful of boys in and out……later on, some girls…..and their friends come often. They open their hearts and home to anyone who comes. It is impossible to visit them and not have a good time.

I feel the same with George who is always ready for us to come and “do the town” like we used to do. With John we’re going to a foreign country……with George, we are going back home. With Becky and us in the middle, between the two boys, we make connections as often as we can.

Everyone was concerned about Rocky and hoping the best for him. We would know the results of the MRI once we were back home. That would be soon enough…….

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I love the fall. Warm days and crisp nights. The sound of the drum corps at a football game….the yellow mums at reunion time….the squirrels running around the yard playing tag when they tire of burying acorns….Halloween, Thanksgiving and family. Then all the preparations for Christmas. Life is good when you center on all the things that are “right” in your world……and there are a lot of those.

We spent Thanksgiving with George again and it’s a fun trip. I have written many times about our first nights in Shawnee….without a doubt we are always found at the Old Shawnee Pizza Shop. We used to take the kids there for special occasions when it first opened in a house on Quivira Road. Is there anything more fun than a pizza shop or McDonalds when you’re a kid?

We always tried to do something special on “pay days” and watching the children’s obvious delight made it special for us as parents. I can still visualize their happy little faces as they looked at the menu…..the menu. It was a magic rite to get the kind of pizza you wanted and there were so many choices to pick from.

The kids still laugh about “the plan” when we went to McDonald’s. They could have a cheeseburger and then a choice. If they wanted fries they had to order a coke. If they wanted a milk shake then they had to give up the fries. It was all part of living within the budget of a “one income” family. I made the choice to be home with our kids rather than work.

When they were small most of the working moms were career women who chose to follow their careers AND have their family. I didn’t see that as an option. Of course, I didn’t have a career and so it wasn’t a huge decision for me. I came from a family where women raised the kids and dad worked……it was the accepted thing. I am thankful to have lived when it was a choice. I understand the fact that things have changed…our world has changed….and families have been forced to change.

Rocky began complaining about a headache back in the summertime. It came and went and sometimes he would mention it, most of the time, not…..he went to the doctor on a routine checkup and had a colonoscopy in November. On his visits to the doctor he mentioned the headache but nothing was found amiss. December came around and business slowed somewhat with the holidays…..his right eye began bothering him and he went for a checkup and new glasses….however, it didn’t seem to help the pain he felt behind the eye.

After the holidays he said he wanted to go see the doctor and have an MRI…..he knew there was something there that wasn’t right. His remarks over the months didn’t have a ring of urgency and I had not given them my full attention. Rocky is not one to live in a doctor’s office so I was surprised when he pursued this headache thing going on. When he mentioned MRI I asked if he was still having his headaches now and then…..he said it had been constant. He went to bed with it and woke up with it. NOW he had my attention. We agreed that after the new year he would have an MRI even over the doctor’s hesitation to make an appointment for one.

He told Rocky earlier in the fall that Medicare wasn’t paying for MRI’s unless there were very serious signs of necessity. That held him back from writing the order. We decided Medicare or not, Rocky was going to have an MRI…….which would be our first order of business after new year’s…….

Sometimes you just have to be your own doctor.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Monday, February 06, 2006


September came in with a flurry of activity. We were busier than ever with Missouri Transit and Rocky was doing more driving to keep up. We had four other drivers. I was restricted more and more to answering the phone and taking care of problems for everyone. It was creating more bookwork for Becky and we were all under the gun to keep up with our part of the operation.

Johnny Cash and John Ritter died in September. It left a big hole in the entertainment world and for their many fans who adored them. I think Johnny was just anxious to be with his beloved June who died earlier.

Jonathan and Aimee’s wedding was coming up and we were all involved with preparations for that. I had supper for Jonathan and Aimee, a good friend of theirs who was best man and Becky…… George picked Jennifer and Marc up at the airport in KC and drove down in time for supper with the rest of us.

The wedding was the next evening on the 26th at 6:00 p.m. and was beautiful in a simple way…..a small church and lots of friends and family. Decorations were in good taste and the bride was beautiful in her white gown. Jonathan looked like he was about to be shot……his eyes were telegraphing a large mixture of joy and nervousness but managed to get through the ceremony without any of the mishaps he feared might happen. There was a very nice reception after.

The next day we went to Lambert’s (home of the throwed rolls) for dinner to celebrate Marc’s 36th birthday. We were seated at table #36 so we figured it was a good omen. We were indulged with food enough to break the table down…..it is one of the “must stop” places between Springfield and Branson and during tourist season the lines form clear around the building. Coming from CT. Marc had never seen so much food at the prices, nor as good……. folks know how to “feed” in the Ozarks. Everyone left the next day to be back at work on Monday.

October was beautiful…….it is always the prettiest month with people who celebrate four seasons. Warm days and cool nights, the leaves peaking at the height of their color….it‘s a tough act to follow. Our new John Deere mower with the leaf attachment was a great help in getting our leaves up. Rocky’s sister, Marie and husband Harold, came on the 10th for lunch and we enjoyed our time with them. They lived in our town early in their marriage and have friends here….over the years their jobs took them to St. Louis where they worked their last years and retired.

The month closed out with excitement for our little neighbor boy, Davy. Halloween is a big occasion for him and aunt Becky always dresses up to go with him and his family to “trick or treat.” It turned out to be a warm and rainy night but it didn’t dampen his fun at all. I had a plate of his favorite food from “grandma’s house”….hot rolls. His eyes lit up and he ran back to the car in his vampire costume with his prize. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be that happy with so little? Success isn’t getting what you want…..it’s being happy with what you have. If we could all remember the simple pleasures we enjoyed as kids I think we would all be better off. For me, that was a long time ago……..

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Saturday, February 04, 2006


We met Rocky’s brother and wife and his sister and her husband in Springfield for a Rockenbach get-to-gather late in June. Aside from the good visit and catching up on the news we pick out some good places to eat and sight-see. This time it was the Bass Pro Ozark Wildlife Museum. Springfield is the world headquarters for Bass Pro and a big “draw” for sports enthusiasts. Presidents have stopped off there to shop as well as other national and world personalities.

The museum is worthy of a serious tour. They have accomplished natural habitats for each specie that leave no question as to their domain. It is not only entertaining but educational for all ages. We spent a good deal of time wandering around and attempting to see as much as we could…..then stopped in at Hemmingway’s which serve an impressive menu. As enjoyable as our visits are….there always comes the time to part company and go our separate directions. One thing for sure, there is always another plan for the next time we meet.

The first part of July we had new carpet installed in every room except the kitchen and bathroom. It was a big job to move everything out of their way and then put back after they were finished. Rocky wanted to do that himself being the furniture mover he always was. He could do it easier and more to his liking….I took care of the little things that a big guy like Rocky could be a little too strong with. Namely the curio items.

Along with the increasing business my blood pressure began going up. Something I’d never had to deal with before. My doctor wanted me to keep track of it for a couple of weeks and then come see him. I could see a new pill in my future because it stayed high and I’d never had the problem before. Eventually I was right…..I joined the ranks of other senior citizens on blood pressure medicine.

We had a bad rainstorm the first week in August. Winds of 60 - 70 miles an hour tore at the vegetation and littered our yard with leaves and twigs. The rain was blowing against the house in horizontal waves mixed with hail. As summer storms go it was short and violent……than calm. August is the worst month in the Ozarks for outdoor enjoyment. It is hot, humid and the killer for most of the flower growth and bloom cycle. We are always glad to see September come around when temperatures moderate and the rains begin in earnest once more…..

Until Monday,
Essentially Esther

Friday, February 03, 2006

APRIL AND MAY....2003 

We were wakened early on the sixth of April with a phone call from Becky. She wanted to tell us she just heard that David Bloom died in Iraq. It was quite a shock. We had watched David for a long time as the NBC White House correspondent and then on weekends for NBC. When you watch someone on camera for so many years, you begin to think of them as friends or family members. David was that kind of a guy. It turned out that it was actually pulmonary embolism rather than war related but at any rate he was gone from us. We felt the loss deeply.

Rocky’s business was going well and we hired Becky to do the bookwork necessary to keep everything on an even keel. We had an office set up in our home and I answered the phone and directed traffic, on days I wasn‘t working at the Barn. Before I knew it I was a full blown dispatcher. Rocky had four drivers besides himself and our phones rang all day long. This nice little “mom and pop” operation soon outgrew my anticipation and the day started early and ended late. It seemed there was always something every day to mess up a well planned schedule.

I was still working at the Antique Barn and Becky worked there week-ends….doing our bookwork in the evenings after getting off work from her “day job.” We were all running in circles as business kept picking up speed. We had several good old fashioned thunderstorms with hail and Becky’s car fell victim to the worst of it.

Rocky and I took a few days off and drove back to Eureka Springs to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. We drove around the area and went back to the Chapel of the Angels where we were married…..they had several nice cabins built for the folks that liked to come back as we did to retrace their wedding day. We were happy to see they were prospering.

George called the first week in May telling us he had been so sick and didn’t know what the trouble was….nothing seemed to help. From what he told us we suspected it was a gallbladder attack but he didn’t think so. The next day, his old school friend and neighbor went to see him and hauled him off to the emergency room. He was barely able to walk to the car. Thankfully, Dennis got him there before it was much worse……they operated the next day and removed his…..yup!…gallbladder. He had been one pretty sick guy for several days.

LJ was graduating high school on May 21st so Becky and I planned going. Rocky had to stay home with the business and George and his dad were flying down together. Jennifer and Marc were flying in from Connecticut and John and Barb had arranged to pick them all up from the airport. It was quite a family operation but we all came together by late afternoon. We were having dinner at the Roy Burns home……long time friends of John and Barb. Young Roy and LJ had played a lot of basketball together over the years.

Early the next morning we went to see LJ’s art display and then back home to watch a very creative video that John made of LJ’s life….from cradle to the present day. As a surprise to him, each family member had called in congratulations which John dubbed into the video……it was a very sentimental and moving piece. We all had several Kleenex’s to soak up the tears. That evening we congregated at the gym to watch him receive his diploma and later we met his buddies that we knew from prior visits both to our home and at John’s. It was a very happy occasion.

The next few days we did all the favorite things we enjoy about New Orleans….we shopped and ate and stuffed as much fun into the time we had as we could. I had my first (and only) professional massage as a birthday present from John and Barb. Believe me, I could get used to that. The only bad thing is being woke up to leave when your time is up…..Ha!!

All good things must come to an end and so the day Becky and I left, all the others were catching their flights out of New Orleans again and soon we would be scattered to the four winds. It is always good when we are able to be together…….I came home and retired once more from the Antique Barn and celebrated my 71st birthday. Rocky’s business required someone to answer the phone all day to free him up for driving so that became my job. I didn’t realize at the time how confining that would be……having a business in your home means…..you can never get away from business.

Well life is a good teacher, isn’t it?………

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Sadly, the Columbia Space Shuttle broke apart as it attempted re-entry the first day of February. We watched with great sadness as we saw pieces falling from it and listened to the conversation from the Space Center to the Shuttle. It was obvious from the beginning that something was wrong but we hoped it was reversible. As we all watched it streaked across the sky littering pieces as it went……until finally it fell to the ground in Texas. It was a very sad day.

Rocky was busy setting up the business. He was buying vehicles and had his driver’s lined up. The paper work was mostly done and a supervisor came around for an “on site inspection.” Just routine stuff to finish up the preliminary requirements.

We took Becky to Springfield for a check-up on her foot surgery. Dr. Bricker told her she could do anything she’s capable of now. If it felt OK it was fine and if it didn’t…stay off it. We took advantage of the day and did some shopping and had a nice lunch at Lambert’s….Becky’s treat.

Rocky sold the last of his farm near Neosho on the 13th and it was an emotional day. It was the last thing to go that tied him to the area. We met the buyers at the Abstract Office and signed the necessary papers…..we later met Rocky’s family at a restaurant for dinner. We had a good visit and then headed back home….our visits would be less frequent now that the farm was gone. Rocky was looking forward to having his own business and was optimistic about it.

We had quite a bit of snow this February and March and it was very cold at times. The news was full of war talk with Iraq and tensions were high. On the 19th of March we started bombing and CNN was being watched around the clock by everyone. By the 23rd we had our first casualties, MIA and prisoners….which were paraded in front of TV cameras to humiliate them.

Living through every war and conflict since WW11 the reporting is so strange to me now. Before, we didn’t get instant news at all. Ernie Pyle followed our boys all over the Pacific in WW11 and was killed near the end of the war. The stories he wrote and sent back for American publication were riveting and powerful. I remember Walter Winchell’s radio reporting and his opening sentence, “Good evening Mr. and Mrs. America and all our ships at sea……..” and Edward R. Murrow with his unmistakable voice over the radio.

The only visuals were the news reels at the movies once a week where we saw old clips of aircraft carriers and our planes flying off and landing…….or being under attack from the enemy planes. We saw the desert war across North Africa and the push into Italy…….finally the buildup and invasion of Europe. I could not imagine at that time it could ever be possible to watch a war as it was being fought. Now in this day and age we are right in the driver’s seat of the whole thing.

I know old people don’t make much sense to younger folks but they haven’t lived long enough to remember better times….sometimes too much information isn’t good. I don’t like to read or hear of every politician who goes astray and I don’t want to be bombarded with every journalist’s view on whatever president is in office at the time.

I have grown weary with parents killing their children and children killing their parents. I don’t like seeing men who molest children and their lying face stuck in front of the camera. I believe in free speech but I do think there are things it would be quite all right NOT to know. I was raised to forget the worst and remember the best……..I still think it’s a pretty good idea.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Well, I’m getting the horse out of the barn and going to saddle up so we can ride the cyber space range once again. I’ve had more than a week off and I found out one thing for sure……I have certainly missed writing and it’s certainly a lot more fun with a new computer.

Getting down to business on Essentially Esther, we pick up with the year 2003. Since Rocky and I are a two family marriage, holidays are always double the fun. The first week-end in January we had Rocky’s family over for our Christmas together. We had his daughter Holly and family, a couple who have grown up with the Rockenbach’s, Johnny and Lisa….and Becky. After the holiday meal we opened gifts all around and had a good time visiting. Becky moved back home after staying with us since Christmas while she healed from her foot surgery.

I was still working at the Antique Barn and business is always slow in January so we did a lot of reorganizing and cleaning. On the 16th we woke up to a snow covered world …….we only had 2 or 3 inches on the ground but it was pretty, however, quite cold and windy.

Rocky had been working to install a shower door on the outer edge of our bathtub and we had a man take out the old shower and replace it with a linen closet in the bathroom……which also provided an opening and shelves in the hall next to the washer and dryer. The addition of closet space was needed and Rocky had a man-sized shower now to bathe in. It was a “win win” project.

On the 29th, Rocky and Bill went to Jefferson City to get their background checks to drive Medicaid patients to their appointments. Rocky wanted to start his own business since the company he was driving for closed down in December. He had several good drivers lined up and was working on all the paper work and requirements. Rocky was retired from trucking but still wanted something to fill in his time.

We are always glad to see January come to an end. It’s a long month, very cold and disagreeable as a rule…….and this year would be very different when the month was over. America would face another tragedy.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther