Essentially Esther Banner

Monday, September 29, 2008


Dose anyone ever finish their list? I’ve been a “list maker” since my children came along and they were very helpful. Of course there were always one or two that didn’t get done…..they were merely wishful thinking. I’m getting a little like the children’s grampa Strain. Grandma would send him up town to get some groceries. After quite a long time, he would return to ask what she sent him for….at which time she would pull the list from his overall pocket. I’m beginning to know how he must have felt.

Usually I find my list at my drop-off places which is the kitchen table, the desk or computer area all of which look like McGee’s closet. But today I think I will surely get a good start on the delinquent projects…..I have everything out of the closets and in doing so, I have a box of things to take to the Good Will Shop. I had saved things that would never be needed by me and it’s crazy to hang onto things that someone else “may” want sometime. One thing I’ve found out…..my children do not want any of it. They are paring down their own collections.

With everything I get rid of a part of me does some back-flips and I feel lighter by far. My goal today was to reclaim my bedroom which I’ve had under a make-over and when I had to crawl over boxes to get to bed…….I decided it was time. I don’t consider myself a slob or messy person but with the changes I’ve made in the home and the interruptions I’ve had I am mighty close to it.

I have visions of my maternal grandmother sitting in a chair pouring over seed catalogs with stacks of papers and magazines all along the dining room wall. There were window sills full of violets downstairs and upstairs. The shrubs and bushes were grown out of shape and proportion outside……grandma couldn’t bring herself to trim the violets back and so they were in different stages of dying. My grandmother was a very clean lady but she couldn’t throw anything away.

I woke up today thinking about my mother’s “side of the house” and how the women had way too much stuff in their homes. I am determined to end the curse since I am the responsible one for how my home looks….. Monday seems like the perfect time to start.

I would scare myself if I made a list of what needs to be done so I’ll content myself with one room at a time. I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew. The thing I wonder about is how on earth I used to do in one day what it takes me a week to do now. I either have more to do or………..maybe because…….nahhh……it couldn’t be age.

I am a happy, happy woman!!! How about that Brett Farve? What a guy!!!

Essentially Esther

Friday, September 26, 2008


This week I have been working in my flower beds that have unwanted weeds crossing the border and infringing on my territory. I guess weeds have a place in the bigger plan but there are so many of them and they thrive regardless of the weather. My mother loved flowers and battled so to have them in the years after dad died. We did what we could to help but if you’re a gardener, you know her regret that she couldn’t do it herself.

It is so therapeutic to work in a garden. Mom loved to get her hands in the dirt. While I wore gloves she used bare hands. I asked how she could stand dirt under her fingernails but she said she didn’t mind……she loved to feel the dirt. Mom always preferred being outdoors to being in the house. The first born of six children she loved to walk the furrows behind her dad as he plowed the field with a horse.

I’m a long way from a plowed field with a horse but some things travel down the genetic line and you come to it sooner or later in life. I’ve talked similarly about this before and also the lady who lived across the street when I was first married. She had been widowed years before and I marveled at the time she spent fussing over her flowers. I thought her to be deranged at the time. How presumptuous of me.

It took years but now I’m an old lady myself…….and yes! I do fuss over flowers as the “deranged” neighbor did before me. Time and life sift us down to basics and all the stuff we thought we had to have is meaningless. Time to think about how wonderfully extraordinary our earth is. How life is given to the most minute seed if we see it or not. The intricacy of God’s world is beyond our comprehension until we pick up a little dirt in our hand……..

Essentially Esther

Monday, September 22, 2008


Most of us make several moves during our married life. I have had six of them and have been where I am for 37-years. As a child my parents moved our family 5-times. There are pros and cons about so much moving but I found it to be very educational. People and places can teach great lessons.

As a kid I learned to make adjustments fast. Back in the 30’s and early 40’s we were in a city so school was in walking distance. Dad figured it was no big deal changing schools so my brother and I usually showed up, found the principle’s office and more or less said…. “Here we are.”

You can imagine the look on an “old-school” principle, with the prospects of some late arrivals and no identification but last Spring’s report card. She was a buxom redhead with piercing eyes that put me in mind of a queen mother. She assigned us hastily to a couple of rooms and dropped us off at the door with a quick introduction. After the first big stare-down from the rows of students the teacher walked toward me and tried to look happy I was there. That was the third grade and I was able to finish grade school before we moved to Missouri where I graduated from high school.

Moving is what you make it, more or less. I have had neighbors move next door that continually complained about the area and wished they could go back home. I have had neighbors who were as close as family. We shared hopes and fears and our children played together. Some of my old neighbors moved on and never kept in touch and at times I was the one to drop the ball.

I mentioned earlier that I have been here 37-years. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere. It is comforting to me now although we moved here to help take care of my dad who had cancer. By the time dad died we had grown roots and decided to stay. The landscape has changed over the years and we’ve made many changes. Our dead-end street was cut through to the highway and we have more traffic but nothing like city traffic. When I think of the years we’ve lived here it’s a wonder we haven’t had more changes in the neighborhood and in our little town.

Once upon a time I would have hated the life I now have. That’s a good thing about growing older, expectations change along with a lot of ideas that seem pretty silly in retrospect. When you think about it, God has a pretty good idea about ageing. We get to be adored and waited on when small and then stretch our wings to new beginnings. When we grow old we have learned that most things aren’t worth it and we find contentment is worth everything. I am thankful for the journey and the promise of our “last” move.

Essentially Esther

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Fall is definitely in the air. We are in the gray area of season change. Up North when it becomes very cold and down South while they are still basking in warm temperatures, we are both at the same time. It is chilly in the morning, warm in the afternoon and chilly again after dark. Southern Missouri, especially in the Central part, weather changes very quickly.

This time of year high school football games in crisp air, the student body yelling and all the noise that goes with a crowd stirs small towns across America. I have always loved a marching band. At half-time when the majorette blows her whistle and the band begins marching onto the field, drums and horns blaring….it is magical.

At times when I am outside in the morning it is possible to hear the drum and bugle corps practice. It’s a nice sound and one that brings back a lot of memories. Is there any more rabid crowd than those who attend a high-school game? The kids who once were the team, the cheer leaders and pep-club….all are now in the stands watching their children and grandchildren carry on the school traditions.

The coffee shops are full of town-folk most mornings and evenings before or after work. On game day the talk is different, urgent and hopeful, it might include the coach, some of the teachers or school administrators…..and plenty of alumni. The school buses with the opposing team arrives like an invading army. Spirits are high on both sides. The arriving team also has the same solidarity behind them.

For some of us, like myself, my chosen subjects were more to the arts than sports. It was never my gift but when I see kids training for long distance running, waving and smiling, I have an uncommon outpouring of pride. I am a fan of all sports and especially foot-ball. The pleasure I have had being a spectator is close to being on the playing fields.

Of course, Brett Farve will live forever as my very best sport’s hero, next to Rocky. He is truly amazing and such a joy to watch his freedom on the field.

Essentially Esther

Monday, September 15, 2008


I used to have a campaign button that read, “We Like Ike” but now with the disastrous hurricane I’m thinking not. Once upon a time it was quite the motto for anything pertaining to President Eisenhower. For some reason I keep thinking of that slogan and it doesn’t fit the latest tragedy coming out of the Gulf.

However, getting back to the subject at hand, I’m taking roll-call to see how many of you are high and dry across the country. I was amazed how quickly Ike blew in and out of our area. It appeared here around 3:00 on Sunday morning, waking everyone I talked to, including me. Because we are in such a wooded area you can hear the wind coming through the trees with a frightening roar. Straight wind can sound as scary as a tornado for I have experienced both.

I decided to get up and look around and I lad large branches down in the front yard with bunches of leaves everywhere. After a good look I went back to bed and by 6:00 AM it was deduced to rain. We didn’t get near the rain that folks did in other areas but it was an impressive rain to watch. Falling straight down out of the sky to whatever was below……..by mid-morning it was over. We had lost power for several hours but it wasn’t a great inconvenience…..

The television coverage of the mess Ike left behind was/is amazing. I cannot imagine the actual condition from the fleeting sights we see but I’m sure folks wouldn’t know where to start when the whole neighborhood is gone. How does one even find his own property lines? The immense job ahead for all the rescue people is mind-boggling and the job they had getting people to safety who stayed behind receive my highest respect.

Early reports had John thinking it wasn’t going to affect them much but we haven’t been able to connect with them yet. Hopefully everything is OK….his last blog was Thursday the 11th so I don’t know if it means anything or not.

Waiting and wondering…….

Essentially Esther

Thursday, September 11, 2008


It is raining here, just a nice quite rain. I noticed it an hour ago when it became dark in the house so I’m taking a break from juggling laundry, putting dishes in the dishwasher and a few other things. I’ve been trying to keep an eye on the memorial ceremonies of 9-11.……since I changed to Dish Network I have been introduced to Fox News which I think is more of the facts and less of negative reporting. At my age I don’t want to see or hear anything negative…….it just steals the joy if you allow it to.

I am in love with Sara Polin. I don’t want to drive any wedges but to me she is a blissful change from the “usual” politician. In my thinking John McCain has shown his love of country by staying back in Hanoi Hilton when he could have had an early release. I would rather have a humble guy (and hero, incidentally) like him who maybe doesn’t know quite how to impress people with his talk, than someone who doesn’t know how it feels to be imprisoned or tortured for something like 5 ½ years. In our church we have a saying, “Walk what you talk or it is never going to fly.” Words have proved to be empty many times but if you’re doing the walk….you’re solid. I personally like a quiet speaking man who can back up what he says.

Yes I have a definite party choice but whoever wins, I am an American first. I will support the next president, pray for him and hope God is able to lead him all the way. God over all, we will survive and prosper.

Essentially Esther

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Yes, I’m still here. With a son and family near New Orleans and the other son near KC I’ve had a rather busy time of it. Actually, much busier than I would have preferred.

John, Barb and LJ made it through and it was helpful that he wrote on his blog site at the conditions before, during and after the storm. Our family is a little goofy (OK) a lot goofy. We all love a good storm. We aren’t crazy or brave……it’s just something to see, feel, smell and watch the strength of something so much bigger than our own silly little worlds….. it commands us to pay attention. Between hurricanes and tornadoes it is actually liberating. We learn nothing is more important than having the basics of life……..and life itself. Anything else is just not important.

Becky and I left for KC to help George give a celebratory party of his retirement. It was nice to meet people I’ve heard him talk about over the years……some from work, some work-out buddies, neighbors and friends of long duration….just plain nice. I always enjoy seeing school chums of George and/or Becky. They seem more like family than friends…….the years have kept them and me, close.

The party took most of Saturday and Sunday was kick-back day……we just did what we wanted. We left on Monday to make the drive home and Becky did the driving back. I don’t think she was supposed to until she saw her doctor again but I had a couple of falls which shook me up pretty good. One of those deals where I wanted to test the front door to see how far it could propel me into the front yard. It had more kick than I obviously thought…..ouch!!

Then on Sunday when I was on the deck with George and our doggies I took a wrong step and ended up on the deck. It really feels pretty good when you stop sliding. So now with the eye-lid surgery and bruises up both sides I look like an early Halloween ghoul. The good thing about it all is that I have decided I do not want any tattoos.

It is always good to share in my children’s “moments” and I’d say retirement is a pretty big moment. I’m sure George is resting up after working 50 hour weeks since January I believe he said. He was smart enough to prepare for retirement so he will be able to enjoy life at his choosing.

I’ve taken a couple days off since coming home but it’s time to get back on track. I’ve been indulging the NFL 24-7 channel with all the things I love the most. Interviews and personal things about the players I never knew. I’m looking forward to the season opener tonight and each week until, alas, the season is over. I’m happy as a clam when I get to watch my favorites………GO FARVE!! I know it will be a tough adjustment for him but I know he is up to it. I’m quite sure he made the decision to come back to the game so I would quit calling and writing him.

Essentially Esther