Essentially Esther Banner

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I’ve been living in shades of pink and purple most of this month. Everything is blooming at once and I am grateful for their beauty. The front yard has a pink dogwood, a flowering dark pink crabapple tree, flowering quince, and a red bud. In the back I have lots of creeping phlox, red bud trees, iris, lilacs wild blue bonnets, and about seven crape myrtles leafing out which will bloom after the rest are finished. I love them all but the nice thing about crape myrtles is that the blooms continue for several weeks. …..and the azaleas have been prettier than ever this year.

Of course, where I live there are always cedar, oaks and pine trees galore. I have a favorite pin oak in the front yard. It is shaped so beautifully it is in the premiere spot to show off it’s beauty. I wonder if trees are ever jealous of each other? With the ice storms we routinely have some of them have lost their shapes by breakage but the only thing I lost here was the Bradford Pear. I will plant something else near where it was.

I have been doing a little weeding here and there. I work on the berm in front of the house in spurts. I don’t have a definite date to finish so I work until I’m tired of bending over them. I like to pull weeds the day after a rain…..they come up easily with the roots in tact. I have read that when you leave a weed, you will have it for the next seven years. If you pull them with the root hanging on, it’s a done deal.

Becky will come home in a couple of hours and we’ll mark and wrap our things we are taking to Harrison on Friday. It is fun to open a new booth and this one was made special for us. I haven’t taken any pictures since Rocky died but I think I’m going to get started again. It would be fun to show our booths to you on line and maybe a few of the yard.

I hope Spring has come your way by now and your world is fresh and new again. As for me, I need to get busy now and end our visit. Becky leaves in the morning for two days and then we go to set our booth up on Friday. I’ll leave you with a thought for the day………


I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.

I would be friend of all…the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving and forget the gift;
I would be humble,, for I know my weakness;
I would look up…and laugh…and love…and lift. ( Howard Arnold Walter)

Essentially Esther

Monday, April 28, 2008


A year ago Holly, Becky and I went through a most traumatic time. The three of us cared for Rocky as his life was ebbing away. We felt a closeness together that we never felt as strongly before. No one else will ever know or feel what the three of us witnessed in those final days.

One thing for sure, the love and the loss mingled together that night is forever written on our hearts. When Holly called and said she would like to come on the 24th Becky and I were happy she could. It would make it seem right for the three of us to be together on that day……as we had been before.

Holly was able to stay from Thursday through Sunday and we made it a very positive and reflective time……talking about our individual healing, some of our favorite stories of Rocky, the life he led and the love he so freely gave to each of us. We didn’t scratch open old wounds or dwell on our last goodbyes….we spent the time together as a celebration of his life and how he impacted ours.

Rocky’s own daughter, Holly, was a middle child and my Becky was a middle child. Each of our daughters represented the other children of ours who couldn’t be here with us and the girls were equally helpful in different ways. It seemed we had the needs covered by our own individual capabilities. We vowed to come together each year on that date if possible as a group of three who met Death and came out stronger for it.

Becky will be in St. Louis for meetings Wednesday and Thursday so I will have a quiet day on what would have been our seventh wedding anniversary. I am fine with being alone as I have more than enough happy memories for company….and my little critters keep me entertained.

Life is a journey that takes us places with people who come and go much of the way. There are many things that make me wonder…..and make me know that almost everything around us happens for a reason. The timing of things is amazing to me and it refortifies the knowledge that there is a God and He is ever showing us how near and how much He loves us.

The evening of the 24th Napoleon flew up into our big oak tree for the first time since last Fall. He had been roosting around the neighborhood and recently in one of Becky’s trees…….but this special night he came back. He cried into the night for a while and then became quiet. I wonder about the many things I can’t explain yet are so compelling….but I guess there are some things that God keeps to Himself, and that’s just the way it is………

Essentially Esther

Thursday, April 24, 2008


One year ago this evening Rocky left us. Today has been a day of reflecting but really no more so than any other day. Until you lose the person you are united with there is never a way of explaining the joy shared in love or the pain of them being taken from you.

Rocky was very sentimental and loving and a great “card” person. Anytime he stopped at a truck-stop he looked over the Blue Mountain card rack and I would find one on a plate or my pillow or any place he knew I would find it. He was truly my gentle giant.

One of the most treasured is a booklet he found called “To the One Person I Consider to Be My Soul Mate.” I have chosen a page or so to share with you and to help me remember that our love was real and passionate and forever.

“If I know what love is, it’s because…I know you. You are the reason for so many of the smiles I have, and you’re the one place my heart always wants to go…when it wants to feel hopeful and grateful and glad.

If I know what love is, it’s because my thoughts of you have such a beautiful way of gently filling my soul…

My thoughts of you are my mornings’ inspiration and my evenings’ comfort. They are wondrous thoughts, free in spirit, and they take me along when they’re soaring above the things that cloud other parts of my life. You make everything all right in my world, every time I think of you.

If I know what love is, it is because every moment with you is a past, a present and a future that brings me closer to a wish come true than any fantasy. With your own special magic, and in your own marvelous ways, you have given my days more richness and joy and love…than most people will ever dream of.”

Rocky, I know where you are and I know you are still able to love me and feel the love I will always have for you. You were truly my soul mate now and forever.

So until we meet again,

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Like most of where you live our weather can change every half-hour. The severe storm we were to get last night waited until mid-morning. I had an appointment to check over my lab results and decided if I didn’t want to get soaked I’d better go early. Once I was in the car the sky became even darker and I could tell we were in for bad wind along with menacing rain.

I arrived at the Clinic and took a seat. I just sat down when the wind and pelting rain hit against the building. One of the girls on the desk came out to the waiting room and said we’d better sit on the inner wall rather than by the windows. My first thought was for Sassy, Mandy and Punkin. Without me being there as a steadying force I knew they would panic for sure. Nothing to do now but wait it out. While I was in the nurse’s office it did it’s worst and I made it to the car without getting too wet…..thanks to the umbrella that stays in the car for such times.

By the time I got home it had moved to the east, which is where our rain and storms usually track to. Soon the sun was out and you would never have suspected the violence of the earlier rain. However it is clouding up once more and I imagine the next wave will come later this afternoon into tonight. Or so was the last forecast.

Yesterday I changed out the kitchen cupboards……I like looking at different dishes which match either the season or my mood. It also gives me a chance to price for sale at the Barn……I’m a fickle collector at best. What I love today will be on the selling block next month. I like to make changes in my own surroundings but I do not like changes beyond my control. I guess that makes me a bad person.

My lawn girl came yesterday and did the first mowing job. She mows, is very good with the weed-eater and then blows everything off the sidewalks. Yesterday she had some extra work……leaves had blown up against the fence and she didn’t quit until she moved them down to the edge of the woods. We have one-half acre that we mow and she makes short work of the project.

I would like to do yard work yet but I can’t do enough at one time to make a difference. She is younger, lived all her life on a farm and hard work doesn’t scare her. She enjoys working out-doors and being her own boss. It is good to have someone you can depend on. I will try to keep my berm and flower garden clean by working a little bit every day.

I spotted another robin this morning picking out small bits of the mulch from the berm. I looked to see where it flew so I will have one to watch after all. I hope you are having a nice day and if going to a doctor your news is only good news.

I have to say, it was good to hear the lawnmower again. I read a funny quote from James W. Moore, “Some folks feel the rain, others just get wet.” How true.

Essentially Esther

Monday, April 21, 2008


Monday morning and the washer and dryer are humming along. Monday’s will usually find me in a cleaning mood. Becky and I had a busy week so it is good to coast along today. The weather report is like it’s been all Spring…..beautiful today with severe weather moving in during tonight into tomorrow. Tornado season is open and looking for someplace to visit. Wednesday should be nice again with Thursday and Friday bringing more rain and severe weather. I have the house open to let the fresh air in so things are moving right along today.

Rocky’s Robin is in her nest…..same tree that he watched her build a nest in for several years. He loved watching the birds and when I joined him on the deck he had all kinds of things to tell me about the backyard critters he’d been watching. We were sitting there last Fall one day when the migration of butterflies went over our home. It was quite mesmerizing to watch them float on the air current…. and higher up than we would ever have imagined. Of course it was Rocky who made me aware of that….he always called me out to see something if I wasn‘t already there.

We watched hummingbirds flit around the tubs of flowers on the deck and in the lower flower garden…….they buzzed all around us because we sat so still. When I was resting on the deck a few days ago I noticed the Robin on her nest. I was sorry I missed seeing her and her mate build it but to see her was enough. I know it may seem presumptuous but at those times I feel Rocky very close. It gives my heart the warm fuzzies.

One of the funniest sights we enjoyed was a mother squirrel who had her babies across the street in a nest made in an oak tree. For some reason she must have felt unsafe as she spent a lot of time building another nest in our back woods. As we sat enjoying a little siesta one day she came running across the neighbor’s yard, and jumped the fence with a baby in her mouth. She ran to the back, climbed the tree with her new nest and deposited the baby. Back and forth she went until each little critter was safe in the new home.

How tired she must have been. Who could match her effort to care for her babies? If God built that into squirrels and the like how much does He put into us to provide for our children? If we take time to notice nature and all it contains there is a wealth of lessons He sends our way to meditate on. The little Robin gets hungry and tired, thirsty and troubled by marauding Blue Jays but her mate works tirelessly to protect her on the nest and the precious eggs.

I hope I have done as well with the children entrusted to me.

Essentially Esther

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Today is an April day I can brag about. A little breezy but that freshens up the house. Yesterday I went for my last visit to Dr. Jones and he was happy about the outcome. I am only scheduled for a follow-up in a year. However, he asked if I noticed my left eyelid as droopy compared to the other one……and I had and so did Becky. He said he could fix them anytime I wanted him to if it got to the point it was impairing my vision. He left the offer open in case I ever decide it’s necessary…..in the meantime I look a little low on one side…..oh well….the eyes are great and I’m all done for a while.

I dropped by the gym yesterday to see Craig, the owner. He is always good for a big hug and takes time to ask how I’m doing etc; Next to the family I would say Craig loved Rocky more than anyone else ever could. I like to connect with the ones at the gym because of our happy memories there.

Today I am getting ready for dinner with friends. I am fixing for four children (still at home) and their parents plus Becky and me which will make eight at the table. Tomorrow evening we will host the Vietnamese couple who do our nails and pedicures. They will have a good old Vietnamese dish called……pizza. They always cook some of their customary food for us each time we go so I thought well……I’ll fix them Becky’s favorite dish. That girl could eat pizza every day till it runs out her ears…..I don’t think anyone likes it as well as Becky.

Saturday we go back to Harrison, AR to work on our booth and showcase. I am told the showcase just about sold out of everything. I’m loaded to the gills so I’ll be ready to fill it up to go a couple of weeks.

Well, I’d better get busy here. Lots to do before dinner time.

Essentially Esther

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I haven’t written for a few days….hummmm….more like a week. If you want to be really busy, try retirement. My friends and acquaintances who are retired all say the same. Life is on a speed-way to some unchartered course.

Becky and I were in Springfield all day on Monday. We initially went to finish some dental work for her and then did our walk-through of several favorite Flea Markets. We skipped lunch altogether and loaded the mini-van beyond belief. Rocky would be very proud of us knowing how well we can pack things.

Before leaving town and all the good restaurants we decided we deserved a great steak supper. It was wonderful just to be able to sit down and catch up with our day. Leisurely eating our delicious meal we talked of our many blessings and the way our lives have been up to now. If you want dinner conversation, just start counting your blessings. It will take up the time between chewing and listening to your dinner date.

Feeling good and happy, we paid up and walked to the van. Under the windshield wiper on the driver side was a note on a piece of paper torn from something else. It read: “Just so you know, there is a bulge on your right rear tire.” We scanned the tire and didn’t see anything so we headed East on Hwy. 60. The tire crossed my mind several times and I was hoping it was either a prank or the tire would get us home…..and it did.

I had to leave early the next morning for a 10:00 appointment but I rechecked the tire and sure enough, there was a large bulge with cracked rubber around the bulge. I drove a few blocks into town and was able to get right in. The men checked it out and said I would need a new tire…..so I thought I may as well go for it and get two new tires. Rocky always said to buy two new ones, put them on the front and use the former front ones on the back.

You wonder sometimes at the strange events that “just happen” in your life. The owner or manager, don’t know which, was there and offered me a chair in his office. At first he didn’t recognize me and I only knew him as having once lived down the street from us and the tire shop connection.

I took some magazines along to read but he seemed to want to talk. He began by telling me his wife died two months ago. This got my attention because on April 24th last year I lost Rocky. Before I knew it he was telling me all about the last year or so of taking care of his wife and then moment by moment until she died. I could have been anybody, he just needed to talk…..of course I felt a kinship and I let him talk it out.

He stopped several times and would walk to the office door with his back to me, stop his tears, then turn around to continue. Somehow when a loved one is taken it helps if you can talk about it to someone. I was his “someone” that morning. It put me to thinking….it is a wonderful blessing to be a “listener.” My name could really be “gabby” as my friends and family know I am talkative and enjoy conversation.

Yesterday I realized “talking” isn’t the antidote for anything unless you are a preacher, teacher or auctioneer. I have become much more quiet and reflective since Rocky died and it seems to fit me very well. I guess I’m a talker when it’s needed and a listener when it’s best. Being a Christian I try and let God take the lead and let me know the difference.

I am on my way to the cataract surgeon this morning for a final check-up and then grocery shopping. I will try and write more later about some things rattling around in my head….there’s a lot of space up there so rattling is vigorous.

May God have His way in your day……….be it talking or listening.

Essentially Esther

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


My good intentions of writing yesterday and today went awry. I had no idea how much work went into preparation for carpet cleaning. Becky and I had the house full of items we’d gotten over the weekend to clean, mark and sell…….so it turned out to be a real chore.

I drug boxes of “stuff” into the kitchen and filled the bathroom with everything I couldn’t pack in anywhere else. I had the bed piled high, the washer and dryer loaded up on top and the kitchen table was stacked.

While the guys were doing the cleaning my three critters were under the kitchen table with big eyes and much fear. Something they’ve never been through before. I put three loads into the dishwasher while the men were working and then changed out some in the cupboards.

In the afternoon, the owner of the Barn (Steve) called and had a picture ready for me they framed from a print. They do beautiful work and this picture is a beauty. He arrived with his oldest daughter, Taylor, and with some measuring and an electric drill they had it on the wall in no time and spaced perfectly. On the way out the door he said he’d have the kids come Saturday afternoon to pick up pine limbs in the front yard that have been there a couple of weeks. Steve and wife Sherry have four well behaved children and have been very good to Becky and me.

We have been warned tomorrow will be another severe weather day. Becky and I will be driving to Springfield to pick up my new glasses since my cataract removal is now officially over. I just didn’t like the reading glasses on my nose or hanging around my neck from a chain. When I took the chain off I had to hunt for my glasses every five minutes…….not for me. I’m a rare bird who actually feels better with glasses…….so my new prescription is now in the frames I bought last October and I’m anxious to be back in them.

I have to say it is the next thing to a miracle to have cataracts removed in this day and time. It is nothing short of amazing to see colors and to have excellent vision with the naked eye. (Naked if you don’t count the lens they replaced the cataracts with.) Remembering the ordeal it was when family members went through it years ago…….. it is a walk in the park now.

Becky came after work and we had our evening meal together, watched some TV and she went home to her kitties. I am preparing for day’s end here as well but wanted to write as we will be gone all day tomorrow. All’s well that ends well so I now have a clean carpet and divan and chair…… and serious cleaning will follow as I’m making some major changes.

Now if I can unload the bed, I shall be ready for serious sleep. Good night to all,

Essentially Esther

Monday, April 07, 2008


Hello from the sunny Ozarks. What a welcome sight after (it seems) constant rain. As with any good part of anything there is always a negative side…….complaining because we have no rain and then because we have too much. Isn’t that just like a woman? I blame it on the many women weather-lady’s we have on all the Networks. They are young, beautiful, well-dressed and mostly blonde. OK….what does that bring to mind? Of course I’m being ridiculous but someone has to have the blame.

I had a list a mile long on my To Do list for the day. So far, I haven’t done anything I can scratch off…..on second thought I did call Carpet Cleaners who are located 20 miles from here. Believe it or not they were working in our town and would be glad to come and give me an estimate. Within minutes they were in the driveway and had the measurements done. Now that is impressive for the Ozarks. Things operate on a slower clock here and being in a hurry isn’t the usual “norm.”

I thought I would have to wait until next month but he asked if Wednesday would be OK and I assured him it would be. I guess even the locals are beginning to feel the money crunch like the rest of the country. That puts me in a crunch for time. Becky and I went on a buying trip Saturday and today we will mark and price when Becky comes for supper. We will have to get everything up off the carpet except for the furniture…..they do not charge extra for furniture so that’s good.

The front lawn is covered with small branches that came off the tree when our grandson cut down a pine that was teetering on the brink of falling over. Since Jonathan works with tree cutting he had it down in no time and hauled off. Now the little stuff is all that remains of the venture. I guess I will try to rake and clean that up tomorrow. The weather is so beautiful I will enjoy the outdoors.

I am happy to tell everyone that I am feeling much better. My fibromyalgia is better again and the extra thyroid medication has me almost back to the “full” line. It’s amazing how a few minor adjustments in your health can make such a difference. I was beginning to think I became old over-night. Naaaahhhh! I just needed a couple of pills. Whew!! I have too much to do to get any older. I’m feeling like the “queen of the world” if there is one and since I’m a land-lubber I’ll have to dangle from the rooftop to imitate Leo’s famous line from Titanic.

Before I leave you today I want to share something I came across.

Boys flying kites haul in their white-winged birds,
You can’t do that when you’re flying words.
Careful with fire is good advice, we know;
Careful with words is ten times doubly so.
Thoughts unexpressed sometimes fall back dead,
But God himself can’t kill them once they’re said.
(Author Unknown)

Essentially Esther

Friday, April 04, 2008


Friday always seems special because it is the last of the work-week (for many) and a day to wind up projects for us retired folks. I walked out on the deck this morning to see what was going on with the Spring bloomer’s and many will be in full array by tomorrow. After a long winter it will be nice to see the countryside full of color and fully awake after a prolonged nap.

I had an interesting e-mail last evening from a reader who was looking at my May 4, 2007 blog-site. I wrote that Rocky’s mother had written a poem in her book of writings which caused some question by Brian, the reader. He knew it as a poem written by Fred E. Weatherly and put to music by Hayden Wood. In it’s origin it is “’Roses Are Shining in Pickardie.” It was quite the music in the early 1900’s and I am grateful for the correction. Anytime something is in question, please e-mail me as I want my site to be correct if nothing else. Thank you, Mr. Brian.

At our next visit, Rocky’s older brother suspected that their mother had written the words of a song she liked and that was all there was to it. Since it was in her handwriting I had wrongly assumed she had written the piece. So much time went by I didn’t look into Google for authenticity but I should have. It turns out he and Brian are right and I shall make a correction on the May 4th 2007 site. Thanks guys.

I’d better leave you with this. I’m one of those retired folks who has to finish the week up today. I hope your weekend is pleasant and rewarding…..and the April showers give you a break. I think we’re all ready for some normal weather and a little sun-shine ……if it doesn’t come your way, make a little on your own.

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” (Edith Wharton) ……….

Essentially Esther

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


We had a very good trip to Springfield and Becky is much better now. She is on a super strong anti-biotic and is already feeling much relief. Thankfully she is out of the woods now.

We are bracing for another big rain here with severe weather…..strong wind, hail and possible tornados …….hopefully we will be on the edge of it as we’ve missed the worst of all the other.

Needless to say we are worn out after several fast trips to Springfield so I’m on my way to bed…….will see what tonight and tomorrow has in store for us.

Essentially Esther


Becky’s tooth they worked on for an infection has flared up so we are on our way to Springfield this morning to have it taken care of. The root canal isn’t giving up without a fight. Poor girl has a long history of tooth problems and this is one of those times.

Will let you know how she comes out this evening.

Mom/Essentially Esther