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Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Yesterday Rocky’s sister Marie, and her husband Harold, came to visit. Rocky was feeling pretty punk but rested all morning and by the time they arrived he was feeling up to the visit. They drove down from Kirkwood which is a suburb of St. Louis…..there were a few detours along the way, due to highway improvements, but they made it here just fine.

We caught up with the news of our families while having some good food…… and plenty of time to look at Marie’s photos that she is faithful to take of their bus tours or cruises. They are very active for their ages and it’s always good to hear of their travels.

Becky called yesterday morning to tell us she was given the promotion she had been hoping for and I couldn’t have been happier for her. She’s more than qualified for the position and will be able to step in without much difficulty. It’s always nice to see a deserving person get a promotion. It doesn’t always work that way but even if Becky wasn’t my daughter I’d have to say she was the logical one for the job.

She dropped by during the supper hour to visit a little with us, have some dessert and then leave to go see Brady. I am anxious to see the little guy…..she says it’s amazing how well he’s come out of the difficult surgery. We are all happy about that, understandably.

Since we don’t have an extra bedroom, Marie and Harold stayed in a motel up the road about 10 miles. We had breakfast together and more visiting before they left for home….their kitty, Ginko, wasn’t happy about them coming so they wanted to get home by dark today. Pet owners are a funny lot but we all understand the needs of our pets. To anyone else it looks like brainless nonsense but to us they are like family.

Rocky and Mandy are becoming good buddies. He’s on the couch a lot resting and she likes to get up on the warm afghan or the electric throw Becky got for him and go to sleep. In no time, Sassy and Morris join them and they all sleep blissfully together. I’m so glad Rocky is feeling better today…….and me too. I’ve had some bad things going on that seem to be easing up somewhat.

After being stretched in a lot of different directions I’m happy most of it has concluded in a very favorable way. Maybe something good is coming your way to make your day better, too……….I hope so……..

Remember: Only the mediocre are always at their best! (Jean Giraudoux)

Until the nest time,
Essentially Esther

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Rocky has been resting and letting his body take a break after the strong chemo last Wednesday. A very good method to do that is to drag out some movies and plug in the VCR. Since we are not the greatest with the DVD, computer or cell phone, it’s always a miracle when any of them works and we have the desired result. It isn’t because we haven’t been informed by capable family members…..it’s because so much time goes by before we use it again…..we’ve forgotten it.

Lame excuse. We could read the directions but with about six different languages in the manual and even our “mother tongue” sounding like an insurance policy, we don’t bother. Trained monkeys we are…..or the fact we live in Missouri, the Show Me State. If you show me it’s so much easier than having to digest a manual.

A friend of Rocky’s gave him two video’s of the Sackett’s to watch. Rocky is a big fan of Louis L’Amour so it was time to hook up the old VCR and see if we could get it to work. We unhooked it months ago for some reason so Rocky had to track down the cable to plug into the TV while I successfully plugged the cord into the power cable. Next were the two remotes that had to work back and forth……OK, it took a long time…..I finally gave up and did it manually from the VCR.

After what seemed forever, we got the thing going. Rocky watched the first video in the morning as I did routine chores……then lunch and the second movie. It should go twice as fast as it did in the morning…..right? Wrong!! We fought it for some time and got it going…….I decided to do some laundry and when I came back to the room, Rocky was asleep on the couch and the movie was half over.

It was at a traumatic part of the story, so I sat down to watch a few minutes…..a half hour…..then I finished the movie. Rocky woke up a little bit later and wanted to know why his movie wasn’t on……sooooooo……..I re-wound it and started it again. Nothing to it by now. My first pass by the couch I noticed he was asleep again but I left it on in case he woke up. Well, he did!! Just when the movie was over…….soooooo…..I re-wound it again and the third time is a charm……he saw it all.

Rocky has read every story he can get his hands on of Louis L’Amour. The family began buying the books for him at birthday and holiday time because he enjoys reading. One nice thing about old age is that we forget a lot so with the number he has, he can read constantly and by the time he gets back to the start line again…..the reading is new once more. Old age isn’t only fun….it’s practical!!

Little Brady is on his way home today with his mom and dad……..Becky is making dinner to take to them so they can eat and get some much needed rest. He has been amazing in his recovery time……even though his eyes were swollen shut he blew kisses to everyone who came into his room. The ones who assisted in the surgery kept coming back to check on him because he was such a neat little kid. A little kid with a big heart!!

So many wonder why bad things happen to good people and innocent little kids. I hear that a lot when they learn what’s going on with our family…..I read a devotional last week that explained it very well. We all go through threatening times and changes of every kind….but instead of asking, “Why me?” we should ask, “What do YOU want to do with this moment, Lord?”

One thing we forget is……the battle is never ours, it’s God’s. He is the one that fights our battles and in doing so others see our faith…..and His power acting on our faith. He was and is and ever shall be.

Faith ends where worry begins and worry ends where faith begins………..

Until next time,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


We spent the day at the Cancer Clinic for Rocky’s second chemo in this series. It was a rainy, drizzly and dark day…..the news inside wasn’t the cheeriest either. Rocky’s CEA had climbed to 66 from a 22.5 two weeks ago. This long into the treatment we don’t panic over the numbers when they head in an opposing direction. We have learned that it doesn’t mean we’re losing the fight, just prolonging it.

Dr. Suzi told us it could be a number of things, one being that when cancer cells die they release a lot of protein into the blood, which would make the numbers elevate. There were several other factors but this one seemed the most logical to me. At any rate Rocky had his second chemo of this particular series, also the Avastin and a booster of some kind.

It takes about 6-hours for the I.V’s to empty and with the lab work, visit with the doctor and hooking the port up with the I.V.‘s, it is a long day. Rocky is blessed with the ability to sleep through anything and the well padded recliner is definitely an invitation. He naps while I enjoy a whole day of sitting and knitting by his side…… family members are welcome and actually encouraged to sit with their loved ones.

I am surprised at the number of patients who are dropped off or else the person bringing them sits in the waiting area outside the chemo area. I guess people handle things differently…..but I am a very “hands on” kind of caregiver. I want to be informed and on top of what’s going on so I can better understand and execute treatment when we are home. A good support group is the best medicine for any grievous ailment.

We will resume the Integrated Medications tomorrow since Rocky is over the nausea of the past two weeks. Three pills that cost $100 apiece take care of the problem……and no, we didn’t have to buy them. They were complimentary samples left by salesmen from drug companies. No matter how dismal the journey may seem at times there are many reasons to be grateful.

He wears a “fanny pack” home each time containing chemo which will empty into his port until Friday morning when it is taken off at the clinic. For Rocky, that’s the worst part of the treatment. He finds it cumbersome to work around and especially sleeping with it. He has found an impasse by laying it on the nightstand next to the bed and sleeping on one side all night. Whatever works!!

We are happy to learn little Brady came through today from a most difficult surgery and is doing well. Mom and dad are recuperating after the long ordeal. He’s a brave little boy who will have a normal life due to excellent medical teams that have access to the latest technology. ……….

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Growing up in the depression years will soon be forgotten as far as first hand accounts go. Most of us are moving on in years and those hard, simple times will no longer be listened to or written about. It is, however, good incite from those of us who were raised then and who journeyed through and beyond.

It would be easier to tell the things we had rather than write about the things we didn’t. I feel very sad when I look at children today, encumbered with too many toys, TV’s in their bedrooms, personal computers, name brand clothes that have to come from the right shops…….the list is endless.

I haven’t met any children lately who worry about what the next meal will be…….anorexia was the norm in the 30’s because food was scarce and people worked hard. The calories didn’t last long in mal-nutritioned bodies. I look at the old black and white pictures of that era where adults were too thin and bony, holding children that only stared……. there were no smiles.

Today’s generations do not care to listen to stories of sacrifice and doing without. It is something they cannot imagine or identify with……they roll their eyes and groan if they think they are going to hear how we walked long distances to school, froze in the winters and were miserably hot in the summers. It was common to have two outfits for school….homemade of course….one would be worn one whole week and the other worn the next week while the first was in the “wash.”

I wouldn’t trade for anything. I grew up with original Americana. We were a family in the truest form…..we ate our meals together, we did the chores together, the work was divided up and done together…….the entertainment was enjoyed together. Life was built around things that could be enjoyed without spending a lot of money.

If mom or dad couldn’t fix it, make it or do it…….we did without. If they didn’t have money we didn’t buy things. There was no credit and no credit cards……there were no debts. What little we had was paid for and all ours. Might not have been something to brag about but today’s world might function better with the same attitude.

I remember the linoleum in the dining room was so worn you could no longer see the floral design except in low traffic areas. Mom was content to wear the same old brown coat year after year and I only remember one old purse she carried. We weren’t concerned about impressing anyone, just making sure we were honest, did our work right and studied hard for good grades.

One year my dad got my mother a box of Evening in Paris perfume with some body powder. She kept it in the bedroom for years before she ever used it and when it was gone, she kept the bottle and the box…..clippings of poems and a few special handkerchiefs were kept in it. That box remained in their home until mom’s death.

I’m sorry kids can’t be kids any more. The clothes in the stores are suggestive and too mature for children….even little ones. Everywhere the look is to be young but young people don’t get to “be” young. The pressure on school children to excel and compete is staggering……tutors are hired where mom and dad used to sit at the kitchen table and go over the work with their children. Now there isn’t time and in most cases the school work has surpassed mom and dad’s education.

I miss family life as it was. I miss seeing clothes hanging on lines, drying in the wind. I miss the excitement of birthdays and holidays…….now it is something to be worked into an already crowded schedule. I miss making things for people who loved “hand-made” articles and cherished them….. trading flowers over the garden fence……porch swings on the front porch and children skating on the sidewalks. I miss the chalk markings of hop-scotch……

Am I soured on today’s youth? No. They didn’t ask for the world as it is now, didn’t make it that way….they just came along and are growing up in it. But I am sorry for life lived too fast, friends and families so far apart and too much money. It isn’t what we have materially that counts…….it’s who we are.

I’m old now as youth looks at me but they haven’t been where I have…..and I don’t envy where they are.

You’ll never understand old age until you get there……..it’ll never happen.

Essentially Esther

Monday, October 23, 2006


All my life I’ve heard older people say, “You never know what the day will bring.” When I was young it seemed an odd thought…….but as the years rolled by and I became older, I finally had the understanding of my elders. If you stop and think about each day this past week, I’m sure there were some unexpected things that happened…some of them good, some bad and some on a normal scale.

Yesterday was good and bad.

Little Brady celebrated his first birthday with family and presents. Of course he’s too young to know why all the fuss but that little guy never quit smiling. Children just have fun wherever they find it…..they don’t have to understand it. With stacks of gifts, a cake all his own to play in, all the picture taking and people pouring so much attention on him, he looked at times like he was humoring our expectations. Mostly, he just had a really nice day with the rest of us….whatever.

Of course, he couldn’t know that today he would travel with his mom and dad to St. Louis in preparation for surgery on Wednesday. Becky has written of the premature closing of the soft spot on his head…..something that is serious and none of us had ever heard of. As time went on the doctor became more insistent that they have an MRI and sure enough, it was a big problem.

Last night Becky called to tell us a co-worker of hers phoned that her brother-in-law had gone fishing with a friend and hadn’t returned home. Their empty boat had been found on the lake and the search was on to drag the area in hopes of finding their bodies. Today, it was learned they were found and the families are trying to cope with the reality that their loved ones are gone.

This morning I had an email from a very nice lady in Nova Scotia who said she was praying for Brady and Rocky. The wonders of computers just seem to go on and on. We throw these daily blogs out on the Internet and never know who is reading them and standing beside us in prayer. I think it is commendable in this busy day and age that someone would read and take time to write and send pictures of her world. You are a special lady……and you made my day!

We don’t know what day Becky will find out about the promotion, how Brady will come out from his serious surgery, how the families of the two men will go on without their loved ones or how Rocky will fare after his next treatments……..but by faith we believe it will all work out OK.

There is so much about life we don’t understand but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason for what happens to us. There is always an unseen hand upon our lives, guiding and protecting us through uncertain times. God in His mercy chooses not to let us see beyond each day…….today, this moment, is enough.

Essentially Esther

Friday, October 20, 2006

A GOOD WEEK...... 

Today was a very good day. The weather was perfect October, I had a friend over for lunch and a good visit, Rocky is feeling much better after the strong chemo treatment last Wednesday, and Becky finished a very successful week with her testing behind her. I have to feel good about all of the above.

Little Brady will have his first birthday party tomorrow. Rocky and I will go at 2:00 pm to help him and his extended family celebrate. The little guy has had quite a first year with removing his extra fingers and toes………and facing a very serious surgery next Wednesday to correct the scull closing too soon over the “soft spot.” I’ve never heard of such a thing but we are told it happens more often than we think.

I’m sure Becky will glow with pride tomorrow. She is a typical grandmother who adores her only grandchild. Since he is, it’s nice that they live in the same town so she can see him often. So many of us have had to be “long distance” grandmothers. It happens with the mobile society we live in…….folks used to live and die in the same town with at least three generations and at times, four. It’s good and bad.

Young people have had to move and go where the jobs are after their college education. Small towns don’t provide jobs good enough for newly weds to make a good start anymore. Sadly the families are far apart but we take consolation in the fact our children are making good incomes in jobs they like. That’s the “upside” of the coin. Seeing each other only once or twice a year……and some years, not that much is hard.

However, nobody ever said we could have it all. That’s life and we have to make adjustments and do what we can when we can. It’s called a celebration when we find time to be together……..no matter the season or holiday. I for one am so grateful John and Becky talked me into a computer……..it has been invaluable to keep up with family news all around and to keep in better touch. I’ve always been a letter writer but now I’m so spoiled to email (which is almost better than talking on the phone)……I don’t enjoy writing letters anymore. Old fingers find the keys are so kind to the joints and stiffness…….another benefit.

However you and yours keep in touch, I hope you’ve ended up a good week and have the weekend to “spend” just as you like. We’ll see you back here on Monday, good Lord willing………

Worse than blindness is sight without vision……..Helen Keller

Until Monday,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I remember a preacher once who gave an illustration about the importance of proper learning. He held an acorn, a seedling and a sprout. He could hold them all in his hand and do what he wanted with them. The point, however, was that in time the acorn would became impossible to bend, break or pick up any longer. It would become a tree and so strong that only a saw or an ax could bring it down. A mighty oak that could stand the winds of strife. I never forgot his example.

The strength of learning is amazing. Grandma Moses was 75 when she began painting her American Folk Art. By the time of her death at 101 years, she had produced 1600 paintings. She was once quoted as saying, “If I hadn’t started painting, I would have raised chickens.” The ones of us who enjoy her primitive pictures of Americana are happy she decided to paint.

I am very grateful for the stories I’ve heard from older people all along the way. The most valuable lesson I learned was that they accepted their place in life and didn’t pine for something else or feel cheated the way they ended up. They simply made the most of where they were and did the best they could. It wasn’t until late life that many of them had enough free time to pursue anything other than keeping food on the table.

Age and experience have a lot to offer if you listen. One thing I know for sure, if you have a job to do and do it right, you don’t have much time to make mistakes or get into trouble. These days if you stay with a job until it‘s done and done right, people joke around and say you’re Excessive-Compulsive. I don’t consider myself compulsive or excessive but I still like things done right.

It interests me why someone would decide to either raise chickens or paint and then excel in painting. Think what we would have missed if she decided to go into the chicken business. What twist or turn in our thinking makes those differences? To be content and fulfilled in whatever we decide is the ultimate goal. How we get there is what makes us who we are.

Grandma Moses said, “Life is what we make it…always has been….always will be.”

From where I’m sittin’ I’d say that’s pretty near right…………

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


These days it seems our family is centered on medical visits, far and wide. Rocky and I went for his lab work today which is routine between chemo treatments. I appreciated their call only a few hours after we were back home telling us everything looked good. We are blessed with such a good doctor close to home.

In former years everyone went to Springfield for serious illness or disease because hospitals in our area didn’t have the equipment, doctors, staff or experience for successful treatment. At one time the hospital we’re going to now held the record for most deaths in the State, per year. It was a stigma hard for them to rebound from. Many of their patients were from nursing homes and sent to them as a last resort….thereby giving them a high death rate.

Over the years, the hospital has grown into a large complex that treats almost everything with good results. Rocky didn’t want to be treated in Springfield because it’s over 80 miles to the hospital from here and he knew there would be a lot of extended trips. The way it is we are spending less time in the car and more time with his treatment. With gas prices the way they are, that’s a good thing.

Little Brady is coming up for a very serious operation on October 25th because the “soft spot” in his scull grew shut too quickly. As old as I am, I’ve never heard of such a thing but thank goodness there are good doctors who are aware of such things and able to do something about it. You may say he’s “unlucky” but I’m thinking he’s lucky to be born in this day and time when it can be successfully corrected. It won’t be easy but as young as he is, once it’s over it will soon be forgotten.

George, my oldest son, has been doctoring recently and a cousin of mine emailed me about her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Aunt Sally is the last sibling of my mother’s family and is fortunate to have one of her daughter’s visit each day and look after her needs.

Things come and go in season…….we all have reasons to be concerned for loved ones and ourselves, as well. I am glad there is a loving Father over us who can provide every need we have. After all, He designed each one of us and can fix any part that’s broken……. So why doesn’t He fix all of us?

I don’t know.

That’s why we need to keep talking to Him……when He answers…..then we know.

But I do know one thing……He has ALL the answers.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


As they say, what a difference a day makes. So many of us were hoping Becky would do well on her test yesterday and she couldn’t have done better. It didn’t come easy as some like to brag but as a result of 20 years of dedicated work for a foundation and then preparation, preparation, preparation.

I compare it to John’s running. He didn’t wake up one day and decide to run a Marathon……..he began with one small step at a time, lots of reading, talking with other runners and what became years of preparation. What might have seemed insurmountable when he began, he can now click miles off with the strength of a Freight Liner. Amazing when you throw in the fact it is difficult for him to see the trail and was born with a club foot.

My oldest son, George was passed over many times for promotion, not because he didn’t do the work or know the work, but because it was politically correct to place someone else in the position. He would later train them for the job he knew so well. He stuck with it and in due time received the position. It wasn’t easy but it was right. Endurance is a decision devoid of ego……..

I am always for the under-dog….for the one who doesn’t win easily. Easy winning somehow lacks the competitive part of us that makes us better……something that takes every bit of mental and physical strength we have to be the best we can be, not to keep someone else from winning.

I love football, I do not love taunting. I enjoy many sports but when a race car bumps another to get ahead, causing it to go into a spin, it turns my stomach. Sports should showcase “sportsmanship.” Someone said, “Show me someone who doesn’t mind losing and I’ll show you a loser…….” but I say, “Show me someone who will cheat to win and I’ll show you a cheater.”

Any test we take is for our own personal merit. The only winners are those who do the work, play the game and win against all odds. When I’ve played with the best and done my best is when I find gratification. I may lose the prize but I’m still a winner.

Good work, Becky. I know it wasn’t easy and that just makes YOU better……..way to go, girl!!

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Monday, October 16, 2006


Since I last wrote, I have been giving all my attention to Rocky and Becky. For Rocky because the big whammie of chemo he was given on Wednesday knocked him for a loop and for Becky as she has a career changing test this morning. The past few days have been spent in activity for them as well as Mandy……who decided to be in heat right now.

I called the Vet on Friday and they were booked up….I figured we would have to wait until Mandy was through the stage before she could have surgery but they informed me they could do it, regardless. We made it through the weekend so now she will be going when I finish here.

It seems a lot has happened since I wrote last Wednesday. For one thing, I never got around to the watering I needed to do…….but it decided to rain last night and is still raining so I am relieved of that obligation this morning. That’s a good thing.

Rocky hasn’t had any appetite and I’ve been feeding him things that are soft in his mouth….the chemo makes it raw and sore along with sensitivity in his hands. It causes some nerve-ending damage so they keep a watch on it. So far, the medications they give him have helped.

While Rocky was sleeping, I helped Becky study by asking her the zillion questions over every thing from soup to nuts, pertaining to the position she holds now. She didn’t miss one…..so I’d say she is ready for the test she will have this morning at 10:00 A.M. She has done the preparation, she knows and executes her job skills in a timely manner and is a good communicator. In my way of thinking you don’t take a test after you’ve studied for a few weeks…..what comes out in a test will be the result of the experience and knowledge you already know and have performed in the past IF you have an interest in your job and pride in your work. She will do well.

Today I have a lot of cleaning to do so I’d better get ready for the day and get at it. Monday is a good time to start fresh with the things that didn’t get done last week so while I’ve got a good head of steam up……I’m on my way.

Remember: What we have at the center of our attention is what has us!

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Thursday, October 12, 2006


If I didn’t know before, I know that cancer is a crafty foe. When I became fascinated with Miss Ellen’s witty and humorous blogs……and her comments on other’s blog’s....then her eventual comments on my blog when I began…with her cancer return and all that has followed…YES!! I believe cancer is not a foe who plays by the rules. Rather we are left to play “catch up” with the constant changes, crooks and turns it takes inside our bodies where we can’t see what’s going on.

I became interested in Ellen because of her sheer determination to whip the evil competitor she faced and the fact she didn’t run scared ahead of it. We became friends over the ensuing months as we emailed each other back and forth where we could extend our conversations more than on a comment section.

Little did I know the encouragement I tried to send her, the eventual deep friendship and “adoption”……… that her cancer treatments and the side effects would soon become a guide for me to follow. When we discovered Rocky had colon cancer it was time for me to step up and act on the heartfelt words I had poured out to Ellen. Now was the time for all good reasoning to come to the aid of my own dear husband.

Without knowing it, Ellen’s journey through inroads of treatment and side effects has become valuable information …….. I can empathize with Curtis who loves her more than any man could……because I love Rocky more than any other human could. We have become meshed together in a literal fight to the death. Commonality is always a good teacher.

There will come a day when Ellen and Rocky will not be with us. Pity the loss! They are two unique people who love life, their families and their friends. They have been useful people, given much, asked for little. They are true hero’s and a good example for us to follow. I pray they will be given weeks, months, years to carry on with us that we might prosper as they show us the way.

Meantime, they fight, Curtis and I are in the fight and many of you are in it with us. If there is a lesson to be learned it has already been told. Enjoy each day as a gift, because it is. Don’t put off doing the right things or wishing for what you don’t need. Value the gift of health, love with all your might and let your light shine.

Don’t let the sun go down on your good intentions………..

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

JUST IN..... 

Just to let you know the basics of the day. It has been long and tiresome as our routine changed quite a bit. Because the cancer had started growing again Dr. Morgan put Rocky on a vigorous treatment. We left home at 7:30 this morning and didn’t make it home until 6:30 this evening. Becky had taken care of the pets and had a large pizza ready from the local shop which was welcome after a long day.

The cancer is still confined to the liver area and Dr. Morgan has Rocky on very strong chemo with the Avastin…..we believe it will shrink it down once more with Dr. Morgan’s excellent steering. We have all the best things in motion and for now there is nothing else to say or do until we get further down the road with his treatment.

The immediate possibility are the side effects he could have and we will know more about that as we go along. There is a lot we can do to alter that when the time comes…..if at all.

So for now, everything is on track and we appreciate your love, concern and prayers. Keep the faith and don’t give up……..we haven’t.

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Monday, October 09, 2006


I know a lot of you keep looking to see if there is any news on Rocky yet, but we don’t have. Just want you to know the minute we do……I’ll get right to the site to let you know.

Meanwhile, we are enjoying Indian Summer our last day here for a while. It is forecast to be much colder during the night going into the remainder of the week. Rocky is driving this morning but will be home this afternoon and we will give the yard the last “once over” with mowing and pruning for the season.

I hope we have good news to post, soon.

Until then,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Tomorrow morning we go in for Rocky’s CT. It will take most of the day as those of you know who frequent hospitals. The sign-in can take forever during the morning rush of patients trying to get in early and save time but it never works. Those who come in late seem to be taken care of with the same under-whelming lack of organization.

All around the registration area are signs like, “How are we doing? Our patients come first. We want to serve you better. Have you had a good experience, registering?” There are always older women who have had years of facing people with too much paperwork to be done in the next five minutes. They don’t look up throughout the whole sign-in but keep their eyes focused on the paper-work talking far ahead of comprehension. They only look at you hurriedly as you sign your name and then glance at their watch. I assume they are in a contest to see how fast they can send you on to the next “wait.”

There are young women who range in eager to fake tones as you enter their domain for your test. It is there you find some of the necessary paperwork is missing and you must go back to the main desk when finished with your procedure. They are doing you a favor and you should look appreciative. We try.

I usually stay with Rocky through most of his treatments and testing but on occasion it isn’t possible so I sit with other family members in the waiting areas. It isn’t a pleasant wait. In the advent of cell-phones most people sit right next to you, across from you and behind you with bells and whistles, music and other exotic sounds going off and then the ensuing conversations for all to eavesdrop on. I have never heard one conversation worth listening to.

After what seems an eternity Rocky appears and we drop off paperwork at the front office and depart. Since most tests require no eating beforehand we usually head for a restaurant somewhere and get some food in him. Of course any information of the procedure will not be forthcoming. It is something to wait for and hope for. Tests from mid-week on are usually not returned until the following week so it is futile to expect much else.

When we know something I will post the results for I know our families, friends, and fellow bloggers are always anxiously waiting for good news. I trust it will be good news. With metastasized cancer the best news is that is has not spread and is not growing. That news buys more time so we can live like normal folks without the threat of cancer.

It is a silly idea, I know…..but it works for us………

Until next time,
Essentially Esther

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I just took an apple cake from the oven…..a wonderful recipe acquired years ago from a favorite local restaurant in Kansas City. Stevenson’s Apple Farm…..anyone who has had a meal there is spoiled for any other fare. It used to be an orchard and bushels of apples and juice were sold at the roadside. The grandfather of the family began growing apple trees in Jackson County in 1890 and at the time there were more apple orchards in Missouri than presently in the State of Washington.

The family business was known for their tree ripened apples that were pressed into barrels for the best tasting apple cider known anywhere. They supplied the whole area with that Wonderful Old Missouri Beverage, Sweet Pure Apple Cider. A barrel stands in their waiting room as you enter the restaurant and you are invited to have a cup while you wait for your table.

The business is in the large barn building that used to house the necessary equipment for their operation and has been turned into a delightful dining experience with rooms in every direction from the cellar to the loft. Each room is tastefully done in a different décor, but all complimenting the early time it was built.

They offer many different canned items in jars from applesauce to corn relish, apple butter to cider…..all of which are beautiful to look at and wonderful to eat. A gift shop offers cook books with their family recipes served inside as well as crystal, and other serving needs for the astute homemaker. It is heaven for folks that like good eating.

Their baked chicken in cream is always a favorite of mine and their small muffins, individual casseroles, honey butter, apple butter and hot rolls are served continually while you dine. I guarantee you will not leave the restaurant hungry or disappointed. Other favorites of course, are apple dumplings and fresh peach or blackberry cobbler. The service is impeccable…..attentive but not bothersome.

My recipe box is filled with such dining delights and family shared recipes down through the years. The cards are spattered with melted butter, cinnamon smears, liquids of different kinds…….some things are not discernable……but each one I pull out to bake, cook or toss together has a story all it’s own. I know each family members favorites and when I leaf through them to make something….memories flood back of children leaning over the table watching as I added the last touches before going into the oven.

I can tell you with certainty when John reads this he will immediately be able to smell and taste the apple cake. It was one of his favorite favorites. After he and Barbara married it was the first recipe he wanted me to send her so they could make one. Cooking and baking are so rewarding to me. A good meal and happy sighs around a table of plenty has always been a joy and a joy to share.

What’s in YOUR recipe box?

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther

Monday, October 02, 2006


We are having such wonderful weather here it is hard to stay inside and write blogs or think of cleaning, laundry and all the mundane things that are called “housework.” I don’t know about you but my house has never worked and it gets all the credit for the work I do. I am also NOT a housewife…..I am Rocky’s wife. I never married the house so I’m not going to call myself that, either.

It seems we take on many different titles as we go through life. First I was little Suzie, then became Esther. I was grandma’s little girl and the daughter of Francis and Dorothy. Sometimes I was brother Louis’ sister, a girl friend to several notable boys and then I became a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother. I have been a sister-in-law, a step- mother, a cousin, an aunt and a friend to many.

There were titles from schools to the jobs I worked….. and then titles when my children were in school and more titles in the church connected “jobs.” It makes me realize how visible our lives have been and are…..by all of the connections we’ve made from the cradle to the present.

Over those years there has been a lot of living and a lot of opportunity to show our world the best we have to offer. I hope I have always given my best and I hope you have always given your best…….how else do we come to the close of the book and find peace, happy memories and to make the last chapter the best. In October, the earth yawns and the sky becomes more beautiful than any other month. It is nature’s way of getting ready for sleep.

November will bring her gray flannel days soon and then winter’s chill so it is wise to enjoy every moment while October lingers…….the fields of gold, the leaves of gold and the large golden moon complete the cycle of life for another year. Soon earth will sleep again until a warm day in Spring when the crocus come to call.

My wealth, my riches, my gold…..are in these simple days of October…….

Until tomorrow,
Essentially Esther