Essentially Esther Banner

Friday, September 28, 2007


Becky and I are leaving in the morning for the wedding of Rocky’s grand-daughter. We will be gone all day but plan driving back tomorrow evening. It will be good to see some of the family members we don’t get to see very often so it will be a happy occasion all around.

Hopefully we will be back on tap Monday morning so until then, I am,

Essentially Esther

Thursday, September 27, 2007


After sitting most of the day looking through photo albums for a project I decided to take a break and sit outside. I invariably look at the sky for I love to see the clouds changing and though I am not a child anymore, I still like to see all kinds of shapes floating overhead.

Rocky and I used to sit on the deck and “cloud watch”……..sometime mid-afternoon he usually went out to sit quietly and watch the birds, hummingbirds, squirrels….even butterflies. Later, when I joined him, he would have a lot of observances to tell me.

You know, love and companionship come in so many different packages. There were many things I loved about Rocky and one thing in particular was his love of nature. I was raised by parents who respected nature and didn’t like to mess it up. I learned many things about plants, animals and how to respect and help my surroundings.

You’ve heard you can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy……that was basic Rocky. He and I were observers when riding in a car. We didn’t have to have the radio blaring or a TV or read while riding….the landscape was interesting enough. Even on familiar roads there are always changes in the scenery.

We loved seeing the calves born in early Spring and watch them as we passed from Spring to Summer and then Fall. The little guys would never stray from their mothers until they began to find playmates and then be in a group with one designated mother cow to watch them.

There were lambs with springs in their feet, playful and active………wild flowers blooming by the side of the road…..simple common things that just make you feel good to see them. Last Fall sitting on the deck we were treated to a large “fly-over” of Mammoth Butterflies. I guess they got flight clearance for their long flight to Central and South America. We were amazed how high they could fly and spent a good deal of time just watching the endless procession.

As a child I loved special days. Birthdays and holidays were always favorites of mine. Now that I am in my senior years I find I like common days. Common days are the ones most remembered by me…….sitting on the deck watching butterflies fly South or watching squirrels building a nest, rabbits hopping across the yard…….Rocky and I enjoyed the quiet days when we were alone on our little acre and enjoyed whatever amusement nature dished up for the day.

Last night at bedtime we had a good old fashioned rain with lots of thunder and lightening. The rain beat against the house and it hasn’t done that all summer. I love to read, knit or sleep when there’s a good storm going on. This morning the world was washed all new and clean and the sky is practicing for October……it is the bluest it has been since last October. Along with the extreme blue were big puffy white clouds dancing along the line of vision I could see from under the trees.

The world, though tired she may be, is still a beautiful place if you look for her beauty……and when I am quiet and wait…….I hear the music of angels and the laughter of my loved ones……and on a very good day I feel Rocky is still sitting beside me…………..

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Rocky’s daughter, Holly, Becky and I have been working throughout the past few weeks getting things ready for the next Memorial Meet in Rocky’s honor. The owner of the gym, Craig, has worked getting the gym ready.

He has a banner on one large wall commemorating Rocky and another man who also died of cancer. Beneath the banner hang large individual pictures of the two men at the peak of their accomplishments. It is pretty impressive. Craig, Coach Rodney and the team of weightlifters have been putting in a lot of their time training and getting ready for the competition.

The Rocky’s Memorial “Meet in the Street” Strongman competition will be held on October 13th in the street in front of the gym. The street will be roped off and visitors will be seated along sides where we can cheer our teams on. The Meet will be made up of individual teams from other gyms around the State and beyond who want to compete as a team.

Holly has been designing the T-shirt which will be silk screened and sold at the Meet with profits going to perpetuate Rocky’s Memorial Fund. The shirts will be dated for this and future Meets for those wishing to collect them. Holly has finished her work on the design and it has gone to the finishing process.

Craig has put in a lot of time to get funding for the event from commercial businesses to save the Memorial monies for scholarships and to finance the T-shirts and trophies. A lot of people have given time and support to make the day a success.

Rocky would never imagine all this in his honor. Those of you who have read my blog for a long time know him as an unassuming individual who was always ready to help out when needed. He was not flashy or a “hot dog” but enjoyed the guys he worked out with and would be overwhelmed at their devotion.

These guys are NOT going to let the team trophy go anywhere. Becky and I selected a beautiful granite and marble shooting star and it will be engraved for the “Rock Star” event which is what the guys dubbed him.

Losing a loved one is unimaginable but when it happens and he is loved by so many……it somehow makes a difference. Karen, if you are reading this, just remember how many people love and miss your son as you do. I hope you feel him near you and the peace of God who can mend every broken heart. God bless you at this difficult time.

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Lately I have been spending a lot of time feeding cats. I have three adopted outdoor kitties that came to us one by one. Callie, Chevy and Lovey. Then I have one inside cat named Sassy. We have had a routine every since they came here and we all understand that.

The three outdoor kitties come to the garage, which is their home, each day about 4:30. They are talked to and petted….then fed and locked in for the night. We are all happy with that. Then there is Sassy who is always in the house because we had her front claws taken out and we want to protect her. At times she tries to speed out the door when it’s open because lately she has been seeing a lot of cats hanging around and she wants to know why.

First there was who we call “old yeller” because he’s old, grumpy and hisses at anything that moves……even Becky or me when we feed him. He usually divides his dinner and breakfast between the two of us and is very demanding and ungrateful. However, we patronize him because of his age.

Then we had a pretty light gray and white female, half-grown who divided her time between us as well. In the beginning she was flighty and scared but now she comes timidly and waits like a lady until you pour her food. Then she waits until you are in the house before she eats. There is a coal black male, a gray striped male with white feet and my favorite…..Punkin’ She is a love. Very tiny, and earned her name because she looks like some kind of animal print, all black and orangey like Halloween. She is the picture of a lost, starving, and pitiful little character.

It took me weeks to earn her trust and one evening she hesitated when I put my hand out towards her. She had been eating regularly for about two weeks but only when I was out of sight. The few steps of faith she took to come towards me and let me touch her was wonderful. She was so starved for love she would ignore her food until I came inside……then she ate slowly, staying watchful all the while.

From seeing them at a distance to seeing them at the edge of the yard to finally have them come close when we feed is so rewarding. They have learned I can be trusted, that I will not hurt them, that I will love them and feed them and they can depend on me. To earn their trust takes time and all the little strays come one by one to eat on the front sidewalk……respecting each other and giving one another space.

Then there are the pole-cats. Becky and I noticed several weeks ago there were two small skunks eating at my feeder after dark. They were even brave enough to come to her feeding area while it was still daylight. I know they are a nuisance but they don’t bother me and I give them a wide range to come and go.

I have loved cats since I was a young girl. My efforts to save kitties is much like God feels for us. He has all the answers and can supply our every need……all we have to do is allow Him to take charge. He respects us enough to wait for us to ask.

I think my fascination with cats is much like my Father’s with me. They give me pleasure, I enjoy watching them, I like providing their needs and I see the fearless affection they have in turn, for me. Being fearful and lost is a terrible feeling. My missionary efforts are not of a grand scale and after all…..only for cats….but my Bible reads, “Inasmuch as you have done it for the least of these, you have done it unto me.” I think that means cats as well.

If you have ever been hungry, lost or scared you understand my reasoning. We are all God’s creatures and need to help each other whenever we can. Even if it’s just saving cats……………….

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Monday, September 24, 2007


Five months ago today Rocky left us as his journey finished here. I cannot fathom what has happened in his new world and find it hard to believe we’ve hit the five month marker. It’s because it doesn’t seem that he’s gone anywhere……but lives safely in my heart. Widows get funny ideas that make people look at them strange and so many I’ve talked to over the years feel as I do. It never seems they are gone at all…….and that is a nice feeling.

Today I paid a visit back to the Cancer Clinic where so many lovingly took care of Rocky and me. I first saw his two doctors who happened to be in the area where they look over the charts. They were thrilled to see me and Dr. Morgan gave me a big hug. He always admired the strength and mindset of Rocky to continue his weight training while taking the chemo. Dr. Morgan is tall and thin and would always grin and shake his head. “I don’t understand you class weight people. It’s hard for me to imagine lifting those weights at your age and undergoing cancer treatments.”

News traveled fast and soon the hall was filling up with the receptionist and the nurses who had taken care of us. They had loved Rocky and thought our story was so neat about losing track of each other after high-school and finding one another again and the six wonderful years we had together. Well, who doesn’t like a good love story? We lived our dream and they were all part of our last year and a-half.

Well, we hugged and laughed and talked about Rocky……they were glad to see me looking well and focused. Knowing how connected Rocky and I were they feared I would find it hard once he was gone…….but I’ve never been one to fall apart on any decision I feel God has viewed as best……and nothing happens unless He allows it. What seems terrible at the time is always better down the road and I would so much rather have Rocky in heaven now than suffering.

The love we shared is still alive and growing and nothing can cancel that out. Love never stops between here and heaven…….my life has been very blessed, not easy, but blessed and I am very grateful for the things God has made possible in my life.

Who could be “down” when they have been blessed, given possibilities and lived life to the fullest? Do I have an inside track, or special compensation, or am I a really really good person? Nope!! I’m very normal but I know the One who has continually thrown the life-line to me to save me from myself.

Isn’t it wonderful to be loved as much as everyone else? Not less, not on condition, not if I can outdo the next guy but just by being who I am and trusting my outcome to THE ONE who can do what He promises. Now THAT’S something to be happy about…….even when you aren’t expected to feel so happy.

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Friday, September 21, 2007


Today is Friday again. But not an ordinary Friday. It’s John’s last day at Greenbrier after working there for many years and making a life in the Health Care community. He’s made many friends who will miss his off-beat humor. Yes, Greenbrier will have to get along without his instant wit and ability to play off of whoever says whatever. Although they feign disapproval at his corny comebacks they will miss his friendliness and good nature.

Ask his brother and sister or his many friends and they will groan loudly if asked about John’s wit and they will counter with something like “yah…..HALF-wit.” We are all guilty of sarcastic humor in our family and especially with each other. I’m surprised some one of the three kids didn’t end up as an attorney.

John is 50 and moving on to greener pastures. He will achieve what mid-age men want. Something safe and secure, good retirement benefits, sick-leave, regular hours and a lot less job related stress. I’m very happy for him so congratulations, John, we’ll be rooting for you at the opening bell on Monday.

Yesterday was Barbara’s birthday. She is the one who really appreciates his new jokes…….because she’s heard all the old ones over and over and over and over……isn’t that what wives do? (I told you we had sarcastic humor, didn’t I?) Barb is an A-1 class gal and she is the one who keeps Mr. John happy and supports him in whatever he’s doing. You’ve got to love a woman who drags out of bed at 4:30 AM to go to the gym with John because he couldn’t run for months.

Becky is at the top of her game and enjoying the freedom to plan and implement procedures that makes the DE program better and more effective. She’s worked for the Missouri Highway Patrol about as long as John has at Greenbrier. She will enjoy joining the staff at the academy in Jefferson City to teach. It’s second nature to her and she has made the classes much more interesting. That’s quite a compliment to her since much of what they listen to is either repetition, dull or strict. She manages to find ways to capture their interest and they enjoy the class.

George is almost ready to wind his career up and will retire next August I believe. He has worked in the same building since coming out of the Navy although his employment has changed over the years. He started out as a disbursing clerk for the Marine Corps. He was the one to figure and get those checks out every month. Later on the government building offered him some other positions and he is winding up all of those years working for the DOD. He has realized a lot of the Marines and other “guys” are all younger now, which is what usually makes us all think of retirement.

I am very proud of all three children and I’m not sure if I’m their real mother or not because they all turned out so good. Certainly nothing their dad or I did contributed to their success…….they made their own way and therefore can feel very proud of themselves for “doing it their way.”

Lord willing I will be back on Monday.
Essentially Esther

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Today is the day I’ve been dreading since last year…..the annual physicals and “shot” time for all my kitties. It’s always a battle after the first cat is in the carrier. The other cats flee in every direction because they remember last year, too, and the hunt is on. First is always Callie, my sweet Calico. She is such a lady and therefore does not resort to commando tactics to keep from going into the carrier.

One down, three to go.

Next I decided would be Lovey. She is the Blue Russian and has always been a little strange. Like Callie, she was a stray that ended up here and we gave her a good home. She has a mysterious air about her and stays more to herself. She loves to eat and always comes on the first call. Not today. She saw or heard the carriers and she headed for the back yard. After a few minutes I managed to pick her up, something she’s never too crazy about, and headed back to the carrier.

After a few steps she figured something was up and struggled to get down. I was not going to let that happen since I wanted to have them all done in one day. I grabbed her hard behind her head like I’ve seen them do at the Vet’s and she became rather controllable. In fact she was quiet with her eyes shut (maybe I was holding her so tight she couldn’t open her eyes or cry)……sensing I had the upper hand so to speak, I dropped her down into the carrier. Door shut and I’m feeling good.

Two down, two to go.

Chevy had never been sighted through all of this but I figured he’d seen or heard enough that he hid. Therefore I decided to get Miss Sassy from the house and worry about Chevy later. I swear these cats can read your mind. Once I entered the house she was uneasy and didn’t want me to pick her up. Now Sassy is 13-pounds and has muscles on her muscles. When she doesn’t want to do something you should have a net and three people to hold her.

Knowing she would be the worst, I left the carrier right outside the door so she wouldn’t bolt from my grip and head for the hills. When she saw we were going outside she began her struggle but I managed to drop her in the carrier…….however, Miss Sassy was on the alert and had her paws on the door of the cage so I couldn’t fasten it and she kept bolting up and trying to dig out. I decided to take her to the garage for a different carrier because this one wouldn’t fasten and I knew she’d find a way to get out.

Well, if she was hard to get in…..you should have seen her when I tried to get her out. My idea was to put open door to open door and she would slide right into the bigger carrier with a good closure on it. Now, she decided she wanted to stay in the first crate so I’m over-extended with my arms and it’s the battle of the fittest. She hung on to her first crate and screaming with sounds I’ve never heard from a cat before. Her volume was also off the charts.

Here I am with her dangling from one crate on end to the other crate on end and I can’t let go because she had room to get away. I’m not sure but I suspect I did a little screaming myself. Finally with one last ditch effort I managed to shake her into the lower one and slammed the door shut.

Forget the next cat!

I decided to take the three and take Chevy on another day. I was wet from head to toe from arm wrestling Miss Sassy so I went to the house and got a glass of water and sat down to rest a minute. I drove them the five miles to the Vet and when I pressed the opener for the back hatch, out tumbled Sassy in her crate turning her over several times.

I came barging in with three crates and three wild and wooly looking cats who had their hair going in every direction and we looked like we’d been through the wreck of the Hesperus. I still have Chevy to take next week and then booster shots for these three (for the new shots to save kitties from a new kind of “whatever”) in three weeks.

Mission accomplished for today.

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Last week I wrote about Becky and I visiting neighbors who lost their youngest daughter in a fatal vehicle accident. Our mission was to go and listen and let them talk about whatever was on their mind. When we first arrived we were greeted with hugs and tears that spilled over but as the evening wore on they were able to reminisce about better days and talked about my mom and dad.

My parents and they visited a lot over the years (living next to one another) and they were like a mother and dad to this couple who had three small children. As a teen-ager their son was interested in mechanics and would come over a lot of evenings to talk with dad about engines and how to fix something or other on his car. Dad was a born mechanic and enjoyed the visits……he retired as a field mechanic for the Missouri Highway and Transportation Department. As you know, retired people with a lot of job pride (in their expertise) love to pass it on to people who are interested. Dad was also an excellent teacher.

There was the time when we visited mom and dad one summer and my three children liked to play with their three children. Mike had some kind of a bicycle that John rode on behind him. On one of the corners at high speed, John was thrown off the bike and hit the road with his chin taking the brunt of the fall. When he came to the house his chin was hanging in shreds with gravel stuck in the open wound.

My dad got him in the car and took him to their doctor who sat him on the table to do some stitching. Dad was really proud of John who was probably around the age of six or seven at the time. He came back and said John sat and let Doc sew him up without a whimper. Dad admired bravery and for a treat we had supper at “Joe’s” which was a cheeseburger and fry place on main street. At that age, John would do anything for a cheeseburger. I think I should have named him Wimpy.

Well, there were many times we were with the family on our visits to see Mom and Dad. Last night Becky and I went down the hill to visit the sister of the girl who was killed in the wreck. Debbie and her husband, Larry live “behind” her parents on part of the land they bought from her dad. When we moved here in 1971 we have had a lot of good times with Larry and Debbie and they are close as family.

If there is ever a time to practice listening it is when you visit people who are still in shock over their personal tragedy. Every time they are allowed to talk about the things going on inside of them a therapy is working to ease their pain. The more they talk it out, the more they are able to get through their grief.

We left with hugs all around and drove home the short distance. The moon was beautiful and there was a balmy soft breeze as we departed. It seemed the world was mellow and full of love. I drank it in as my thoughts turned to Rocky.

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


In high school I had a Speech and Dramatics teacher that impressed me more than any other. Of course, that was because I loved her class of prose, poetry and our school plays. She was the typical old “school marm”……time had passed her by and she was puggy with a reddish face and graying head of hair.

She fell in love with a man when she was young but he married her sister. She never married and teaching was her life. She was one of the first (back in the late 40’s) to teach by illustrating her meaning. One morning she was talking about body language, only back then it was called, “actions speak louder than words.” Semantics may rule on what anything is called.

To show how we often follow actions rather than words she had all of us leave our chairs and walk into the hall. With a grand gesture she had one hand on the door-knob as she moved her other arm in a half-circle motion to enter the room. It wasn’t until we sat down that she got our attention…..she actually said, “after me” but with the indication of her arm ushering us in…..we all went like a bunch of little dummies. Pretty humbling to big-headed seniors.

This morning I was in the living room reading quietly when I heard the garbage truck stopping and starting as the men picked up the “offerings” at the curbs. I often watch them because it makes me feel good to see the dregs of the past week go into the huge truck. Last week as I watched it was a young man doing the picking up. He took the lid off the large plastic container and slung it to the ground. It got my attention.

He slammed the container against the end-gate of the truck when he dumped it and then hurled it back towards where the lid lay. Now I am not an expert on body language but I would say he doesn’t like his work and didn’t like my Rubbermaid container. It left me with a bad feeling….like he spit on it as well.

This morning, once again I heard the truck approaching. As it came to a stop in front of our house a different man swung off the truck to pick up the container. He let the lid float down to the grass and rolled the trash to the back of the truck. Then he picked it up, shook it to get the last pieces out and rolled it back next to the lid. I sat analyzing the whole thing.

I don’t know either man. I only saw them from a distance and yet I think I can tell a lot about “who” they are. Situations may have been terribly different for each of them on the days I saw them but by their actions I drew conclusions. Of course since I’m retired and can mull over things like that I sat rocking and wondering.

I thought of my old teacher long ago. Actions can certainly speak louder than words and our body language “tells” on us at times….no matter how we present ourselves when we know we’re being watched. The mouth can say one thing but our actions and facial expressions will often expose a different attitude.

To conclude….last week’s pickup man left me feeling bad. The service was the same, both times my garbage was picked up, but I prefer a gentler and kinder garbage man to empty my trash. (At least, look like it and treat my stuff better, OK?)

OK…..I can hear my son John saying, “Yah mom, the guy you saw today is probably a serial killer……last week’s guy is no doubt a first class citizen that you misjudged.” Having said that, I guess I’ll leave the analytical job up to those who know what they’re talking about.

Now you know what this old retired lady thinks about while she has her second cup of coffee in the morning. Go out and have yourselves a good day……it‘s time for me to get busy too .

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Friday, September 14, 2007


It is a beautiful day in Smalltown. Canada has been sending some of their excess cool air our way and the sky is beautiful. I enjoyed sitting on the deck for a while this morning before I got involved in anything major.

The last two days I have exchanged sets of dishes from garage to house and then reversed the process. I am clearing out the excess I have accumulated. One would think dishes were going to be rationed if they could see the full cupboards and pantry in the garage. It is a source of joy for me to organize the cupboards and change the dishes to match the season.

I’ve been listening to these “make over” shows about everything from homes to clothing. The battle cry is, “You have too much…..your space/closet is overloaded and this may hurt but we’re going to get rid of the clutter.” As I watch women hanging onto favorite old tee shirts or some atrocious outfit they think they look good in, I see myself. With me, it is always how much I paid for something that holds me back. Now maybe if someone gave me $5000 like they do on “What Not To Wear” I might be able to let go of my closet. In my next life……..

Today being Friday, it is the day to finish everything I didn’t get done for the week. Usually there are four or five things that need an hour or so and then I’m ready for Miss Becky to come for pizza. Friday night is always the same here….pizza! We can relax and plan the weekend and talk over the past week. Since we are both alone it’s nice for each of us to have the other.

Yesterday flew by before I could turn around. I did the usual morning jobs and was about ready for lunch when the Sergeant I worked under as a Driver Examiner dropped by. It is always nice to talk over old times with a former compadre and a chance to share news of other folks we worked with. When retired, you leave a large part of your life with people you’ve worked with for many years……ours was a family kind of atmosphere because there is never a big turnover in the D.E.

After lunch I drove to the next town up the line and visited the friend I used to have over once a week for lunch and a visit. She now lives in an assisted living complex and is very happy with her new surroundings. Of course we chatted about home-town folks and traded news of mutual friends. From her window I could see the male employees pouring brickets into a huge grille and Opal said they were having a cook-out for the evening meal. Chicken and hamburgers. That would make for a nice social time for the residents.

When Becky came home we walked up the lane and visited some neighbors who lost their youngest daughter in a fatal car crash last week. We have known the family since my children were very young and played with their children when we came to visit my mother and dad during the summer. Later, when Warren and I moved here we were just down the road from them with my folks in between. We have always been close and cannot imagine the pain they are dealing with.

She leaves her husband, three grown children and one grandchild. Her parents and married siblings live nearby. We had a nice visit recalling old times back when life seemed simpler……in a small town like ours everyone feels the other’s joys and sorrows as their own.

It seems we have all lost a lot here lately but I know God is able to take pain and sorrow away and replace it with His peace and grace. He is never early or late and will supply comfort for all our needs.

If the need is great, He is greater……..always.

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


It is time for a critter check-up. I mentioned a couple of days ago that we finally got Morris buried. I shouldn’t say “we” because Jonathan did the work and Becky did the finishing touches while I visited with our company. I’m finding that as I grow older it isn’t so bad to “sit out” some of the things going on. I seem to remember my grandmother and mother doing the same thing. I’m never sure if we’re being smart or lazy but this past year has been an eye-opener. Some things just don’t have to be done……yesterday.

I think Rocky’s usual remark as I tried to employ him into some of my hair-brained ideas has taken root. It was always the same, “Is this something that has to be done in the next five minutes?” I always admired Rocky’s laid-back attitude about almost everything. We never had a fire very close so I don’t know if he’d hurry up for that or not but it always got my attention that I should wait until the time was better.

Napoleon has lost all of his beautiful eye-feathers and looks pretty ordinary now. He travels the neighborhood but for the most part he stays close enough I can see him or he comes running when I clank a spoon on an empty jelly jar to call the kitties to supper. It is a ritual that sets all the neighborhood dogs to barking when they hear that sharp clanking noise and the kits are so well trained they come to the garage knowing exactly what they will find…..me putting feed out and shutting them in for the night.

Lovey, the blue Russian stays around the house more than Callie or Chevy. She is the most interested in eating…..in fact, I’m afraid she is almost a glutton. They always have dry food and water in bowls but they only get canned food each morning and night. Lovey has a way of reaching over half-way across the plastic ice-cream lid I feed them on. She hurriedly eats some of Callie’s and Chevy’s space and then she has hers underneath that she backs up and eats.

It isn’t polite but the other two apparently don’t mind as they often walk away before the lid is empty. The ice-cream lid? I found they work very well…..I have a stack of them from past emptied cartons and I can throw them away after a time or two so they don’t grow colored looking goo in them.

Back to Napoleon. He quit roosting in our big oak early summer and went back to his first tree when he came to visit Becky. He stayed there until the past month or so and now is roosting across the road down in the timber. For reasons known only to him he “sleeps around” but always comes for supper at Esther’s house. I look for him every evening before his bedtime and he dines on dry cat food, hot dog buns and whatever “sweet” thing I have on hand. This week he has been having Sour Cream Bundt Cake. He loves sweets.

Time for my lunch, I made myself hungry. I’ll tell you about Mandy, Sassy and the stray kitties some other time. Have you talked with your dog or cat today? They love to hear what you have to say. Petting is good but they really, really would rather have you talk to them. It perks them up like it does me when I decide to have a bowl of ice-cream. It’s just something we all need everyday. Good ol’ comfort food and some petting and talking.

Right now Sassy is sleeping on the desk between me and the monitor. You will always find her close to wherever I am…….she’s a mama’s girl and interested in everything I do…it’s nice to have her company. As cat lover’s know, they have our schedules down pat and the sounds we make, the movements…….all are “cat”aloged so they never miss out on anything that might be interesting to them.

I’m thinking it would be nice if we were that tuned in to God so He could enjoy our company as we enjoy our pets. We know He takes pleasure in His children and we take pleasure in Him……maybe that’s where the whole “pet” idea came from.

I like to think so………

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I never imagined after December 1941 that another calendar date would be able to match the impact of that day. Those of us who are old enough to have lived during those scary times have our own memories. It was, after all, the war to end all wars but what a naïve and idealistic hope that was.

I watched some of the services being held around the country and heard the words spoken of good men and women. Ordinary people that day that sacrificed their own lives to help others. I have found for the valiant it is much better to die trying to save others than to live with guilt the rest of their lives if they turned away.

No matter what generation and no matter how people grow indifferent, in an emergency we are all Americans and most of us will run to help. Thank God for the ordinary people who measure up to the task. Our hero’s most often are folks who we know. Who we ride to work with, who we see on lunch breaks, folks we brush against while shopping for groceries…….just plain folks exactly like us.

No matter what politicians tear down with their hateful debates and ugly attitudes about the opposite party, the money under the table that goes back and forth, I will always be proud to be an American. I have tried to live by giving back because a lot of people died so I’d have a shot at life……and a life of freedom.

For many of us today, it is a relative, a fiancé, a neighbor, someone we see every day standing in line for services and people we feel connected with that makes it very personal. For most of us it is only something that historically happened……we didn’t lose a friend or relative and have never seen the trade centers. Yet, there is the profound sorrow and sympathy for those affected and for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

For all of them, I offer honor, prayers and to see that every day is well lived. Life is short in the best of circumstances but many lives were cut far too short on 9-11-2001. For their grieving families and for their lives, unfulfilled, God alone is the one who can give the peace and hope when death seems senseless.

We need to try and live as well as they died………

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther

Monday, September 10, 2007


Well we had a very nice weekend here in Smalltown. I woke up to the smell of coffee and Becky sitting in the living room watching TV Saturday morning. We had a couple of waffles for breakfast and sat and enjoyed the rain that pattered down all day. It’s been a long time since we had a good rain and we felt we should take it in.

Jonathan, Becky’s son, came mid afternoon to bury poor Morris. If you remember, he died the same day Rocky did. It was too hectic and the weather was rainy that day also……we decided we couldn’t deal with digging his grave as we needed to be with Rocky.

Although it sounds gross (and for good reason) we wrapped him in a towel, then layers of plastic bags and put him in the freezer until we could bury him properly. With everything else going on around here we never got to it and when Jonathan offered his services I took him up on it. I’ll have to admit it bothered me but I’ve had worse to deal with so tough times call for tough measures. Now Morris has had a good burial and I don’t cringe every time I open the large freezer in the garage.

I was surprised by a visit from our former pastor and wife who were on their way home to Illinois. It had been several years since we’d seen them and what a blessing it was to catch up with each other. Needless to say there have been a lot of changes for all of us. It turns out that they live fairly close to where my cousin Dale lived so it’s a small world after all. Roger and Beth are very special to our family.

Becky and Jonathan came to visit a little before they went to bury Morris and try to get a skunk out of Becky’s garage. 1t ended up making the whole neighborhood smell like skunk and Jonathan had to wait until the next day to finish the job. It will be some time before his clothing loses the bad odor, I’m sure.

Sunday was a good day for football fans with lots of action and some surprises. It’s going to be quite a season and I’ll be watching Brett Favre every chance I get. He is my all time favorite.

I thought about Curtis quite a bit. I know his home must seem very empty without his “sweetie pie.” I can empathize with him……it isn’t and never will be the same…….but there are many good reasons to keep looking for ways to make life worth while. There will be a glad reunion some day for all of us who have lost loved ones………so we just have to keep on keeping on, as they say.

Until the next time, I am,
Essentially Esther

Friday, September 07, 2007


I have been calling today in regards to Dale’s estate and one of those calls was to the IRS. I had received notice of a number assigned as the administrator and I should respond by September 15th. I dreaded calling because I’m not at all qualified to even read a tax statement much less understand it. Of course I’ve heard people curse the IRS all my life.

After being directed to several different departments I ended up with a very nice gentleman who was not only courteous but very helpful. He asked quite a few questions which I was able to answer and come to find out I don’t even have to think about it until this time next year.

I am very sensitive to telephone conversations. I can tell if the person on the other end is smiling, irritated, if their eyes are twinkling, if they want off the phone NOW and if they are faking being nice. I have had reason to call many different companies, credit cards, the Military, Federal and State offices…….and I find every time if you are nice, they are nice.

Some people give public service people a bad name because they call in a huff and blow up before the person on the other end can even get a sense of their call. I have worked both for the Federal and State agencies and was married 26 ½ years to Warren, who was retired Military.

When I went on base with him we were afforded courtesy by everyone from service people to the civilians who worked at the base. Warren was in the hospital a lot during those years and it was always the same. After his death I was never treated less than before. I grow very angry when people curse the Military and criticize a world they’ve never been in. Don’t talk down about all these folks who are doing the best they can……….they know a lot more about it than most of us and continue to march…..no matter what.

Attitude tells me a lot about character. Some folks couldn’t find anything good to say if they won the lottery. They’d complain it wasn’t big enough. There is the chronic gossip, the constant complainer and the hypochondriac. People who always have an ax to grind aren’t getting the worst of anything….they just want to be a victim for pity or credit where they haven’t earned it.

In the years I’ve been given to observe life and people, the ones who never complain are the ones who have the most to complain about. The ones who never feel good, always have an ailment and want to give a minute by minute account of their medical problems are normally better off than their listeners. Some of the happiest people I know are smiling through tears inside……yet they keep going. Let’s help them along by giving a big smile back.

Essentially Esther

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Ever so often something happens to keep me writing. It’s something I have always enjoyed but to be honest it’s not always easy to find the time. Retired folks can relate to this. We are the working force that did our jobs and passed from the scene. Then we envisioned hours with our hobbies, travel and spending time with our families. Most of us were left at the old homestead while our children moved on.

We applauded them but realized……it won’t be possible to visit very often. Now they are the working class and cannot afford the vacation days every time we would like to visit. They deny this but as parents we know it is love that sparks the denial. They want us to think they will always have time for us but in reality we know they don’t. I’ve never intended to be a “clinging” mother and always encouraged spreading their wings. I hope they got that message.

Today I received an email that encouraged me. We draw encouragement from many different sources. To process how the blog gets to the internet it begins with my “chores.” I have always looked out the kitchen window as I did the family dishes to watch the bluebirds. In other words, the daily tasks are a great way of letting inspiration flow into our thinking. I am always aware of what’s going on around me. God’s world is amazing and since I and “it” are constantly changing it never gets tiresome. He paints a new canvas every day…….I need renewal every day.

Sometimes it is a thought I get as I read and sometimes it is an email I receive from someone I don’t know. Today was an email day for me. Earlier I tore off the page from my Rick Warren’s day calendar and read my verse for today. It was very moving and put me to thinking. Powerful stuff. That’s what I love about listening or writing or seeing……..we become aware of a world bigger than we are. We realize there is a connection but we don’t all have to be the same. God’s world is filled but each snowflake, each flower, each person, animal…..whatever….we have been allowed to be different.

To “be” who we are is acceptable. To try and be like someone else is not only sad but pitiful. Who would try to put hummingbird wings on an eagle? We would have two birds who couldn’t fly. My desire is to be the best Esther…..not the best woman. I know in my heart I will be writing until God quits sending the inspiration. I have always said He gives the inspiration, I do the writing. Jim, thank you for the email, I am blessed that you take time to read the blog.

We will never know why we are so valued by God or why He chose to make a way for us to be with Him through Christ. If we are so loved and have such a blessed future with Him we should let that love spill over to others continually. It is impossible to hold that kind of love inside……gratitude for what we’ve been given will always find it’s way out…………..

Essentially Esther

Monday, September 03, 2007


How many of you watch “Flip This House?” It is one of Becky’s favorite TV shows and she has me hooked on that and “What Not to Wear.” Since she has become my weekend and after-work companion I have watched so many of those shows with her I am beginning to glance around the house and my clothes closet with a jaundiced eye.

I am basically an activist once a new idea hits me. I decided to start at one end of the house and work back. My kitchen is overstocked and running over. I changed from Country to Victorian with the last change-over so a lot of decorations went bye-bye at the time but I’m such a collector that I once again am running out of comfortable space. If only I could be content with the way things are I wouldn’t always be in a state of flux. However, since I am a dead center Gemini I will always be making changes. It’s something a Gemini must do to stay enthusiastic about life.

Now that I am an authority on home improvement and clothing I must discard and start over. Everything I have is not the right color, fit, in style or complimentary to the “new me” I am working towards. Becky has gagged for years at my white pants, with shoes, top and purse in a striking color. Red, black, navy…..pastels, whatever. She made comments like, “It must be a generational thing. Every woman your age seems to think that is tantamount to style. I wish you’d give up the white pants.”

I never noticed before but every time I make a trip to WalMart (the clothing Mecca for retired folks) I had to admit she was right. Every woman my age was strutting in white pants, colored shoes, bag and top. I decided maybe I should give Becky a little of my listening time. However, I discovered it wasn’t all brilliance on her part…..after watching the re-runs of What Not To Wear I began to see a lot of what I wear being thrown into the metal garbage can with total distain.

I could identify with the weeping women wanting to hang on to the comfortable and sentimental clothing being tossed. However, after the very serious make-over with hair and make-up perfected, I had to agree the change was indeed for the better. I also think having fewer clothes is better because most of us gals only wear about five things hanging in our closets anyway. The idea is to buy them to fit, and change around to get more mileage out of less clothing. I’m sold.

Now!! For the house, I began boxing up “stuff” today after watching the “Flip” shows last night. Becky and I entertained ourselves at each commercial break talking about how I could make changes that were needed and up to date. Each hopeful person who entered into the business of “flipping” mentioned how the kitchen and bathroom sell a house. The two rooms here that need serious help.

This week will be busy as I work my projects and enjoy a little of the late summer weather. With a new hurricane to watch on the weather channel I will have to allocate my time…….it will be possible to finally work in the yard a little where I need to do some cleaning out. The cats love having me outside as they laze around and watch me work. I guess that’s what kitties call “quality time.” They are always highly interested in whatever I’m doing and enjoy my conversations with them.

Until tomorrow, I am,
Essentially Esther