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Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Our month of October is about over. I don’t know how but when the calendar turns to November the sky loses that beautiful color and dons a gray flannel. It has it’s beauty but on a different level…..and for many, the most enjoyed holiday. Thanksgiving in the South usually means getting up and being in the field before dawn to try and bag a trophy deer. It’s bragging rites to have the most horns and biggest deer to talk about during the winter. I guess it has it’s moments but I am not one to appreciate it.

We had a wild weekend around here. On Saturday a Strongman Meet was planned in Rocky’s memory and Holly (his daughter) and her (daughter, Sara) came over to help cheer the guys on. I’ve never been able to understand how guys get this worked up over breaking their backs, pulling muscles and even having to stop before they finish. The Rockenbach Memorial Fund has provided a beautiful traveling trophy that the teams vie for. So far our home-gym team has taken it to the limit and kept it in the gym. They won by 1 point this year but a win is a win.

Watching the bulging eyes and red faces was nothing compared to the response the teams gave to each lifter. With a bunch of guys yelling “good lift……. no rest……keep going) and the squeals from their women, somehow they managed to do the lift. A regular from our gym has been trying at each Meet to win his personal best of 700 lbs. He was always a little short or had an injury. On Saturday he made it out of sheer will and when finished he went around the gym jumping and hollering like a Banshee Indian……whatever that is. My mother used to say it a lot but I never knew the meaning. Anyway, we all caught the moment and hugs and congrats were everywhere. I’m sure Rocky was watching and encouraging throughout.

After the Meet was over the four of us went to dinner (about 2:15) and then home. Becky had to help an eight-year-old with a costume for the Halloween Party he was invited to. She left to do that and when she came back we went to Brady’s third birthday party. Sunday we rested up and did a lot of stitching. Holly left yesterday after lunch but we have planned to meet in Joplin on Saturday to go Flea-Marketing. Beck and I need items for our booths so off we go. It’s around 3 ½ hours to Joplin from here.

Tomorrow evening we are having friends in for dinner and Thursday I go for my flu shot. On Friday it’s the day to visit my friend Opal in the nursing home. I’m going to be out of circulation until next week probably. About pictures……..I put new batteries in my camera and it worked fine until I tried to use it at the Meet. I wanted to be able to post a picture or two but I need to see someone about checking my camera. However, I’ll put in a “file” picture and hope to have a picture later. The picture shown is of Rocky's coach, Rodney, and Craig, owner of the gym. Others there said they would give me a few of what they had taken. It’s been a week since I’ve done a picture, so Roger……….here goes!!

Essentially Esther

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I am convinced that being retired is over-rated. I was sailing along this morning with a long list of things to do. I took a table over to some friends and invited them Thursday evening for some apple crisp and coffee. Of course I thought it was Wednesday and I would finish my projects today and take my time fixing for a nice evening tomorrow.

Becky called after lunch and in the process told me today is Wednesday. Have you ever seen a cartoon character when it’s losing it’s mind? That’s what I looked and felt like. WWWHHHAAAATTTTT? Today isn’t Wednesday? In a panic I cut to the chase and decided to stop and write a blog. I have ended my challenge for the day and will see if I can get a picture on the site again since I’ve had another session with Roger on the phone.

How many people does it take to make a picture on the blog? A VILLAGE.

I found a Rockenbach sign in the garage some weeks ago and today I decided to clean it up and paint it to go over the front door. Both front and back doors are painted red now so of course, the sign in now red also. Rockenbach is embedded so I will paint it with black paint so be more noticeable. The deck was so pleasant with sunshine and a cooler temp…..just right for painting.

I finished the sign and then decided I would put another coat on both outside doors. I was having a lot of fun and planning more when all of a sudden I found out I was operating a day late.

I will take pictures of the Rockenbach door when it’s hanging red and proud. But for today I'll show you where I create the blogs. I spend a lot of time in this area.

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Good Tuesday morning. The pets are all fed, I’m on my second cup of coffee and time to write another blog. October being my favorite month I like to spend as much time as I can outdoors. We still haven’t had a killing frost yet and I’m amazed how beautiful the roses are, along with my “pot” flowers.

The current entertainment is the falling leaves. The cats and I enjoy watching them come down. It is quite a study, actually, as some spiral down, others fall like a brick and some take flight and often hit the screens where we do our watching. It is endless fascination for the kitties.

Yesterday the weather pulled me outside. I decided to scrap my indoor list and head for some needed cleanup in my flower bed. We watch our yard a lot from inside and the spikes of dead flowers are the things I seem to look at. I’ve had a miniature red barberry in my garden that pushed everything out and sat like a huge blob in the middle. I’ve left it for several years as the cats enjoy being under it and is a safe haven from an intruder or a good nap. This picture is of the bush in an earlier picture but grew to three times the size.

It must have been labeled wrong as it was the largest barberry I’ve ever seen. With leather gloves and body covered from head to toe I began the tedious job. I have poison ivy in the garden in places so I protect myself as best I can. I was pulling on a root of it and discovered it had a network of roots all over the garden. The more I pulled the more came up under the cover of flowers and leaves. After an hour I decided to take a rest and regroup.

I had water and sat on the deck while the cats checked out what I’d been doing……then back to cut on the barberry. It took a couple times of resting and cutting but finally the job is done. All it lacks now is to carry off the cuttings to the back woods. When I came in it was almost 1:00 o’clock. Time sure flies when you’re in a project.

Becky and I went to Harrison last Saturday and on the way I stopped at an apple farm and bought a half-bushel of Jonagold apples. I’d never heard of them before but they were beautiful and when I fried some yesterday afternoon they were as good as advertised. A wonderful apple flavor and no waste to the apples. I hope you have all had fried apples as they are delicious. With a healthy chunk of butter in a skillet, put the sliced apples in….a good amount of sugar and slow cook until tender and transparent. I put a lid on them to finish and I never peal the apples. The skin is tasty and full of vitamins. Eat them hot with biscuits……now that is Southern for sure.

Essentially Esther

Thursday, October 16, 2008



I had a wonderful day yesterday. Those of you who have read me for a long time know that my cousin Dale died suddenly last June. (2007) It began a saga beyond any expectations when I was made the administrator of his estate. At present time the only thing that remains is mailing out the tax forms which the lawyer will be sending almost any day.

In Dale’s blog I noticed a “Deanna” commenting and I assumed it was a cousin on Dale’s mother’s side. He had mentioned her in some of his blogs and through the family I often heard aunt Beulah talk about “Roger and Deanna.”

Unfortunately she learned of Dale’s death through my blog site which is a sad way to learn of a family member’s death . Throughout the past year and four months, Deanna and I have exchanged information of her family needed to finish the estate….. and it was decided when it was over we would visit.

Long story short, they drove down from Nebraska yesterday and arrived shortly after four o’clock. It was a meeting we had been looking forward to for a long time and it provided the good visit I expected. You don’t run into Nebraska folks very often as most Nebraskans stay in their State. You can understand my excitement in visiting with them.

We went to a local Steak House just down the hill for dinner….. and next to the new Motel they were staying in. The Open Range has excellent meat as you would expect from the name. We came back here and shared pictures with each other, revealing Roger as a shop teacher and then retiring went into computer work, teaching, rebuilding etc; When I learned of his computer capability I told him the difficulty I’ve had trying to get a photo on my blog. My sons and son-in-law tried to explain but with Roger being a teacher who taught other teachers he somehow got through to me. (Well, kind of. Deanna wrote the steps down so I wouldn’t forget by morning)

First thing I tried with paper in hand, walking through the steps…. I almost fainted when it worked. Hopefully I will at last be able to show pictures which (to me) makes a blog more interesting.

Thanks Roger and Deanna! You will never know the treat you have given me! In the short time they were here, Roger fixed the garage door opener, fixed my kitchen table and walked me through the computer snags I’ve had. I told him that’s what widow’s do when “fix it” men appear. They drag out a bevy of things that need repair. Never visit a widow!!

The picture in the previous site is of my sister-in-law who is married to Rocky’s brother. They provided the computer I have and it is a work in progress. I enjoy leaning new things and a computer is continually raising opportunities for all of us in the quest for knowledge.

Essentially Esther


This is a test to see if I can get a picture on my blog site. I had some expert help last night which I will discuss later……..now to see if I can get the job done.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


To me, October always means homecoming and football along with some of the best weather of the year. It meant pinning on a huge mum to wear to the game and the excitement of the crowd yelling for our team. I was yelling for a very special guy and wore his football jacket proudly.

Those days of course were long ago but October brings great memories back along with the present things to enjoy. Becky and I were in a local town today and they were having their October Festival. The town square had been blocked off and there were canopies all around the park and store front area.

It was much like a carnival atmosphere as there were all kinds of wonderful foods made on the spot, along with crafts of every description. The busiest food attraction was the Bar-B-Q stand where a continuous line of hungry folks waited for their orders. The time in line wasn’t wasted as people visited with one another good naturedly.

As we ate, we watched people strolling by, many walking hand in hand and taking time to look at the many different items for sale. I guess I notice that particularly because Rocky and I always held hands when we walked. I think it is a natural loving thing to do. Most of the hand-holders were old and gray for the young folks were either pushing baby carriages or high-school aged who were continually animated during their walks. Pushing each other and laughing and the things that you do when you’re with that special person at a fair.

All across Missouri there are many such festivals to take in. From making apple butter in huge pots over a fire and sorghum making to local beer fests. Herman Missouri is mostly of German heritage with fine shops and excellent food and beer making. Of course Branson, Missouri and Silver Dollar City are a must-see if you enjoy watching things made. Glass blowing, quilting, knife making, lovely knit and crocheted items and things like making soap, wood carving……it is truly worth the visit.

I have never figured why the sky is so different in October. The earth is under a blue canopy that is cloud free and the vivid colors of the leaves make a beautiful contrast to the azure blue overhead.

It seems fall is a gift to us. God has surely made her the most beautiful season because she is golden and yielding. The earth gives up her bounty and then prepares for sleep knowing that winter is soon to come. I think people are a lot like the seasons……old age is the accumulation of years and seasons….most of which we have passed on to others. We know winter will come……..but not today.

Essentially Esther

Thursday, October 09, 2008

LIFE 101..... 

You never know when some little thing you do will cause a positive reaction. I have written several times about Opal, a friend I visit on Fridays. She is in an assisted living building in the town up the road and will not be able to ever return home. Her ailments allow her a certain amount of freedom with a walker and oxygen.

Last week I went to dinner with my mail-carrier. She has the rural route that includes our street and we have often chatted at the box. She noticed that every Monday I receive a note from Opal and asked how she was. With the information I gave her she said she would like to visit with her sometime.

Well, as two women often do, we talked long enough to make a date for dinner and then to visit Opal. Our mail-carrier had worked at one time in the school office when Opal’s daughter was the school nurse so there was some connection with the two of them employed by the school system.

After dinner we arrived at Opal’s door and she was looking for us since I had called ahead. During the visit, my mail-carrier said she always remembered that Opal had candles in her front window and how warm and inviting it seemed to her. The candles were battery operated so there was no flame. The visit that followed was on the basis of those candles in the window and I listened to the two of them talk about what the candles meant to each of them.

Last night, I again went to dinner with the ML and during the meal she talked about her new house and asked if I would like to see it and of course I did. As we drove along, the lights of our town faded to a halo glow and we ended up on a dirt road with houses among the timber.

We came to her drive and there was a stunning three story brick home and………yes, there was a candle in every window.

Sometimes the simple things we do speak volumes to someone else and that is what makes our world and our lives so special. When I visit Opal tomorrow I will be sure to tell her about the ML’s candles for I know the surprise and happiness it will bring her.

We are never forgotten or overlooked no matter how it may seem at times. That is usually when God steps in and does a little candle-lighting…………..

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I had visions of getting a blog off early this morning but I got myself messed up and couldn’t get a lot of “stuff” cleared off my page. I think I did learn how to put pictures in my blog. Don’t count on it but I will try at the close of the blog. I never know what my keyboard will come up with. (Brain surgery needed here.)

Life has been amazingly quiet for me. Becky didn’t come home over the weekend as I wrote last week so I got lots done but I think I am only half way with clutter. You have to get it out to get rid of it……next time I won’t go whole hog and do it all at once. Dumb choice. I am going one room at a time now and I can see the end in sight.

I may even get my windows washed before you get here, Deanna. Dale’s favorite cousin on his mother’s side and her husband will come next Wednesday for a short visit. We have looked forward to meeting each other for months and when the Estate finally closed we set a date. I know I will like her because Dale liked her. That’s good enough for me.

Yesterday I woke up feeling like I should go visit the Cancer Clinic where the girls took such good care of us. Turning into the parking lot seemed familiar and yet strange. If the parking lot seemed strange I was in for a big surprise. The main lobby where the receptionist signed us in was no where to be seen. Two other women were at the post. No cheery good morning there…….I went through the doors to the cancer side and again, a new face was behind the counter. She asked what I wanted and I asked if I could go through to the clinical area and she said I could.

When I went through the door Dr. Morgan was standing at the file area looking over a case before seeing the patient. I didn’t want to bother him so I just touched his shoulder as I walked by…….when he saw it was me he stopped and said how good it was to see me etc;etc; He is a man of few words so I knew it was a genuine response.

The young lady who kept tract of the comings and goings in the clinic section looked up when I walked towards her. She stood up with a radiant face and said she had me on her mind so much lately……it was wonderful to see me. She couldn’t get over the fact I was standing in front of her. I do not say this for praise of how wonderful I am but in the fact that we humans seem to have a radar beeping when someone is thinking of us. I got a hug when I came and a hug when I left.

Sadly, she was the only one in the clinic who is still there. I thought everyone would always be there to go back to……but life goes in different directions. Perhaps it is best not to hang on to “what was” but “what is”……at any rate, it was good to see the two people who remembered the Rockenbach’s. On my way out the door Dr. Morgan again said he was glad to see me and that he still had Rocky’s picture “up” in his office. He admired his strength and success in weight-lifting…..and the way he faced death.

The girls have all gone on to other nursing duties and I know I will not go back again. They remain with me always for the love and care they gave us………once upon a time.

Essentially Esther

Saturday, October 04, 2008


We have experienced the best weather of the year this past week. I’m aware it has been for most of the Mid-West and what a blessing after so much bad news and turmoil with our country’s finances.

Becky has been gone all week and didn’t come home for the week-end. It’s about a 2 ½ hour drive each way and she had some stiff tests coming up next week. I am sure she will be glad to come back to a normal schedule.

As for myself, I have been busy enjoying the weather and some yard work. I have physically felt better after the doctor made adjustments in my medications and also the lack of humidity is a great factor. There is something about being in the yard that puts everything in proper place. Writers and poets have done their best to describe it but nothing is as noteworthy as feeling it. Most of the best things in life leave us speechless…….it is better “felt” than “telt” as a pastor used to like to say.

I have made progress in the closets and drawers. It is amazing how much “stuff” can accumulate in small spaces. I have a plan that is working better than my initial start. Instead of moving things from one room to another I purchased 8-plastic tubs and am moving things I want but don’t have room for to the garage. I will never stoop to renting a storage unit. I’ve always said if you have too much for your home or garage you should pass it on to others. That is my intent.

In sifting through things I’ve saved over the years I have come across some items that have inspired me all over again. One of which I’ll share today.

You knew it would be a poem, didn’t you?

A Little Moment by Violet Bigelow Rourke

It takes a little moment
To send a line or two
To thank someone for
Doing something nice for you.
And soon that little moment
And the kind words that you say
Will be as golden hours
Of that someone’s happy day.

(Rosalie, this is for you…..my longtime friend. You have made so many of my moments golden.)

Essentially Esther