Essentially Esther Banner

Monday, July 28, 2008


Becky is doing fine on her recovery from breaking her leg but tires easily and the crutches make her sore. She has tried to keep on schedule and with some effort has been able to do so. I chauffer her to work and pick her up when it’s time to come home. It has made a change from my leisurely mornings but it is only for a short time. She was able to buy a wheel-chair from a co-worker who had some to sell. She actually bought one for me also. I presume they were rather inexpensive or maybe she knows something I don’t…….how does one react when someone buys a wheel chair for you?

We were gone over the week-end. Drove down to Arkansas where our other booths are and the hills and valleys are high and deep. It is beautiful in northern Arkansas and that portion of Missouri so it is a nice change from our normal routine. After two days we were ready to make the homeward trip and since Becky can’t drive it was my job to drive both ways. We usually split the driving but Becky won’t be able to drive for several weeks yet.

I hadn’t noticed right away but when I glanced over towards the empty lot between us I could see Rocky’s old Mark IV Continental was gone. Becky had arranged for one of the Trooper’s to come and load it while we were gone. Rocky had wanted to give it to one of the Lieutenant’s he worked out with at the gym but didn’t get it done before he died. “Izzie” as everyone calls the Lieutenant wanted to restore the car to it’s original grandeur but was just now able to get someone to come and pull it to it’s new home. Rocky would be pleased to know one day it will be riding the highways again.

When you lose a loved one you lose so much more than you could ever imagine. The things that are left undone to the accomplishments of the one individual you will always love and will never forget. Rocky’s gym bag is still as he packed it for the next trip he wouldn’t be able to make. Little things here and there that were part of his daily routine become important now that I barely noticed before.

Giving material things away is hard but the day comes when you must. Our loved ones don’t want us grieving our lives away much as a faithful dog who resides at his master’s grave and can’t be coaxed to leave. I know life must go on but that special person in your life will never go away. I am thankful for good memories as so many leave this world without ever being appreciated or loved.

It’s a good idea to make the time you have the best it can be. We never know when someone will buy us a wheel-chair!! (Just kidding, Becky!)

And I may pass the old Mark IV on the road one day and I know I will surely cry…………

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Where to start…..where to start. Becky and I have been constant companions since her fall. There is never a time to have an accident of large proportions but we are making the best of the situation.

I say “we” for the caretaker is thrown into the same slot to work the way out. Becky is doing well as far as her leg goes but even worse is her back condition which came to visit about 3-weeks before her fall. Having to walk on crutches made her back take over for the walking part…….to sling one leg forward and the other getting a free ride. This is the same place she broke her leg three years ago so we at least know the ramifications……however that doesn’t help the path to be taken before healing.

She isn’t a sitting down animal so I’ve carried things to her to mark for sale which has become entertainment from the long hours of being a “couch potato.” Anyone who thinks it’s fun to watch TV all day (and part of the night) has to be devoid of sensitivity. For the two of us, it’s more like punishment. We are both rabbits who love the thrill of the chase…….even when we don’t know what we’re chasing.

Yesterday was her first attempt to go back to work. I picked her up and dropped her at the Troop G HQ after hauling what she calls a “purse” and her brief-case to her office corner. They were so big and heavy three different people asked if I needed help. Now that’s a new spin on “big.” She put in five hours and I picked her up @ 12:30.……naturally she had wilted some and when I saw her swollen foot it was apparent she made the right decision about leaving for the day.

Our weather has turned ugly. We loved the cool weather and all the rain we had been blessed with until three weeks ago. Now we are looking skyward hoping for a good shower……or even severe weather….anything that will produce rain. I see why she is called “Mother Nature”……..only the female gender would find it so entertaining to control our weather sprees. The female Nature loves her great variety of tricks to pull out at random.

I am a woman so I understand her fickle nature. It must be fun to direct the earth’s weather as a conductor with his orchestra. Sometimes very calming but suddenly without abandon can whip up loud noise here and there. Becky is getting better, I have addressed the variety and soul (if you will) of Nature so it’s time for me to get busy in my part of the world.

I hope where you are……the weather is friendly and you do not have any broken bones. So may the wind be at your back and may you be in heaven an hour before the devil knows you’re dead. (Just a little Irish blessing there.) You can supply the dialect.

Essentially Esther

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Good morning from the “Far Side.” It seems Becky and I have been in constant motion since I last wrote. We were gone over the weekend to work our booths and showcases at Harrison, which are emptying faster than our local “Barn.” It means buying to keep them full so we stopped in Springfield coming home on Sunday to check out a few more places and we hit the jack-pot. Becky and I had been up and down stairs, long walks from the van to our booths……..then more walking, carrying and packing out the space we had left. We drove home in good time and crashed!

When I say “crashed”…..that’s what I mean. Becky was leaving after we had a bite to eat and had her arms full of bags…… we said goodnight at the door and I locked it behind her. I have no light at the back door and…….have you guessed yet? Yes, she fell on the steps and I heard her yell as I was going down the hallway. She had fallen and pitched forward amid her bags and the rock garden.

When trying to sit up the worst of her pain was from the right ankle area. It was the same place she broke her leg almost three years ago. One look at the huge goose-egg told me we’d better get to the Emergency Room at the hospital 25 miles away. It was about 10:00pm when we signed in for an exam.

Of course, on a summer night, on a week end everyone and his brother were waiting for help. It was like walking into a psych ward. People with no social mentality (even common courtesy) were sprawled everywhere with family members running in and out all the doors. Now I’m not one to look down on others except when others look down at me. They obviously knew the territory and how to work the system so regardless of signs and medical personnel trying to keep order they were running amuck.

So from 10:00pm until 2:10 in the next morning we were stuck in the travesty for roughly 4-hours. We were the last to see a doctor and they put a partial cast on Becky and advised to see a specialist the next day. We arrived home and bedded down around 3:00am. Becky had some pain pills which gave her some relief.

We saw Dr. Walker at 10:00am that morning and he took the cast off that ran from her toes to mid thigh. He put her in a walking cast and gave her a list of instructions. Becky has complained of her back constantly. She had been lifting our heavy “totes” full of merchandise back and forth to the van for weeks. With the fall it became more of an issue than her ankle. Walking on crutches is painful for her since she has to swing her other leg to take a step.

Long story short, we are going back to the doctor today for an MRI referral. All things being equal it seems the fall has expanded her problems so we will take care of it as the need arises. Will keep you posted when I can get to the computer.

On the bright side……..Becky became a grandmother for the second time the next night. Little Chloe was born Monday night and is like a real live doll. She is so tiny but has a good set of lungs when she wants her bottle. Jonathan and Aimee stopped on their way home so we could see her and of course, we think she’s pretty special. Mother, father and baby are doing well……..big brother is constantly where Chloe is and keeps saying, “Baby”……….. “Baby”….. They have tried to prepare Brady to watch after his little sister and he is already doing just that.

Oh, yes!! I’m having a light installed on the deck……right by the steps.

I need to get busy with morning chores around here so have a great day and I’ll be back when I can. Happy Thursday to all…………..

Essentially Esther

Friday, July 11, 2008


We have had a busy week here. Becky has had some high-level programs to develop for upcoming teaching commitments and I have been busy with my on-going remodeling. I needed something to get my artistic juices going so decided on some new looks at home. I could live in my little house forever and not miss going anywhere…….however, that isn’t possible in this day and age.

On weekends Becky and I shop for our booths and during the week we prepare our “finds” for sale. The traffic at the Barns where we have our booths keeps us hopping to keep our shelves full. Life in the Ozarks goes on much the same in bad times as good times. Ozarks folks like a bargain and are not apt to overspend. They are not harnessed to credit cards as the urban folks so there is always pocket money to shop the Flea Markets.

No wonder. There are fabulous buys if you take the time to meander through aisles of merchandise waiting to be found. For those of us who enjoy the quest of the unusual, it is most gratifying. Ozark people know how to navigate through hard times, make time to visit when the opportunity presents itself and not get too interested in what they have no control over.

I have lived in this area long enough to realize “keeping busy” is not required. I have shifted to their way of thinking that life is to be enjoyed, not being worked to death. Most folks are craft savvy and can play several instruments and sing a song they “made up.” I think the intelligence level is equal……just different when compared to an executive position on Wall Street.

I was born in the North and am a Yankee by the fact of my birth place. The Yankee’s won the war but the Rebels won the way of life. We could learn a lot about Southern living……they take time. Time to do the work, time to play, time to grieve for the dying and a direct impulse to keep the prayer going to the God they believe in.

Being content where you are, who you are and happy with what you have is an acquired life-style. They would rather have and be a good friend than to have money. Somehow they discovered money is not the freedom maker that character is. They love their independence and don’t intrude on your space.

Small-town, USA……….how I love this little acre. How grateful I am to end up where I am and to have sense enough to know what a good life it is. Years ago in the book Pat Boone wrote, he said to “bloom where you are planted.” I couldn’t agree more, just make sure you are planted in good solid ground. North, South, East or West, we are in the best country in the world.

Essentially Esther

Monday, July 07, 2008


Life, love and laughter. Those three little words and an apple a day will make you healthy, wealthy and wise. They are the three most important words to keep you mentally fit and physically strong. Or is it mentally strong and physically fit? Take your pick, either way they are important. If I had to choose between mental and physical I would keep my mind. It’s a terrible thing to lose and much of the time the physical part of us can mend and redeem. If we lose our minds we are totally “lost.”

At the present time I have a relative who is in the mid stages of Alzheimer’s….not so bad that she can no longer remember things but her thought process wanders in and out of the present and the past. It is truly sad to get her letters and see that each time they come they show her decline in comprehension.

I’ve always said if I could keep my hands (to crochet, knit and read) and my eyes to see what I’m doing and my brain to keep it all straight…….I would be a happy woman. My mother was in a wheel chair in her last years but was an example of accepting “what was” into the present with grace.

I have always admired the older ones in our family because they had a lot of knowledge I didn’t find in books. It was also puzzling to find they knew everything I knew. How did they do that? I didn’t know until I became older. Our brains soak up a lot of stuff in daily life that is filed away somewhere…..especially if we are good readers, keep abreast of the local and national news and are somewhat social. Family and friends can offer a lot to us if we listen and apply it to our own situations.

Interest is an important word. How many times have you heard a parent lamenting that their child’s report card was bad because so and so wasn’t “interested” in the subject? Teachers (good ones) constantly strive to make their lessons interesting for the students so they will be more informed and knowledgeable. It seems to me (though I haven’t had a child in school for many years) ….. it seems there are more visual and audio aids to help teachers capture their interest.

The chief factor when in a conversation is not only to look interested but to really listen to what is being said. Waiting to jump in and do all the talking or talk while the other person is talking is definitely not the way to go. At first it’s hard but the older I grow the more I keep my mouth shut………as the old cliché’ goes you learn more by listening.

Listening……….hummmmm…maybe there are four “L” words to live by.

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of my retirement. I would never have imagined my life as it has turned out since then. It was a wonderful day with everyone smiling and congratulating me……..and especially for the lady who took my place. She was as happy to have steady employment with all the benefits as I was to retire. As they say, one man’s poison is another man’s gain. I think it’s a little over-rated.

My friend of many years came from Emporia, Kansas with her husband and my oldest son, George, came from Shawnee, Kansas. When it was all over and I was alone at last it began to sink in. I was no longer employed and I didn’t want to go to “pot” so at first I jumped in and played with all my yard and house things until they became like being employed.

I was never able to master life in retirement as my late cousin, Dale. When we visited on the phone or e-mailed each other he claimed my “projects” made him tired just to listen to me. He maintained I might as well be working and getting the big money if I was going to work that hard for nothing.

Dale gave me a lot to think about. He was 10-years my junior and I had baby-sat him when he was a little guy……blonde and blue-eyed, he was a little sweetie. Now in our senior years he was satisfied to only do what he wanted. He was never one to impress anyone and would correct them if their praise was too lofty. No nonsense kind of guy……he was what he was…..period.

Actually, I’ve never come to grips with the fact that he is gone. This past year hardly gave me time to mourn his passing, but I was glad to step in and take on the legal connections that bind us to life. He would have done it for me and he did it for his mother. We are family and we take on responsibility for each other. It will soon come to a close and then I can disconnect from the paper-work and re-visit my memories of him.

The world was better for having him in it……………

Essentially Esther