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Friday, January 28, 2011


I mentioned a while back that Napoleon was growing his tail back. He is and he has a change this year in his eating habits that is actually beneficial. He has always come to the front walk for me to feed him but as he noticed the cats eating out by the garage he decided he’d dine with them.

I have watched him appear when the cats are happily munching away on their tuna and dry food. He bullies them away from their food and picks out his favorite parts, then walks to the back deck. Since he’s at the back anyway it’s easy to feed him his real meal there. That way the cats have a chance of getting some of their food before it’s gone. It didn’t happen after a time or two but we are definitely changed over and it is easier in some ways.

I used to watch for him around suppertime or twilight. Now I feed them all at the same time and I’m done outside. The three garage kitties always go to the garage for me to feed them and bunk down for the night. The two strays are both males and I don’t want them spraying all over the garage so it’s a matter of selection. They don’t have the garage to sleep in but I cleaned an extra litter box and made a bed out of it. With an old chenille housecoat fluffed up in it, the covered top and the easy to get in and out entrance it is greatly appreciated.

I am running amuck. To get back to Napoleon, he is beginning to strut around again, rattling his feathers. It is kind of a hollow bamboo sound to me. Those of you who have had experience with peacocks may have a better interpretation as to the sound. I know he will be at his proudest peak when Spring comes and he will again go back to his first home at Becky’s and cry out in the night for a mate. How he must strain to hear………how must he hope. Seven years has to be long for him without a mate, living in a world foreign to him and adapting to the things he has to, to survive.

The fact he has free range of the neighborhood and the fact we are in an area where hunting and shooting something is a sport to many; the road they cut through to the business loop and the increased traffic…….he roams free and safe. He is the mascot of the neighborhood.

There is one bad trait. I need to stop with this and go wash off the deck and back sidewalk. The neighbors have long since tried to shoo him off their cars etc; and it is wise to see where you walk in the yard. But with the beauty and his company it is worth the chore. He still loves people, is pretty nosey about what’s going on but he always spends most of his time in my yard and until mating time he will be sleeping in the penthouse of my large oak.

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


After several attempts I finally got on face book. The first time they didn’t like the passwords I tried to use so I gave up and deleted the effort. Stopped in mid-stream as they say. The next day I received an email congratulating me for being on face book. I decided to give it another try. This time they liked my password but were convinced someone had attempted to access my account. I made a phone call to John just to visit last night and the conversation led around to face book. For those of you who know John, he set about turning the wheels of progress. He is a fixer upper.

With him monitoring my page he aptly put me through the paces and by the time we said goodbye, I was off and running. I am sure I’ll need more instruction down the line somewhere but at least I’m in the mix now. I totally “get it” as to why grandparents like being able to email and/or face book. In just a few minutes we’re talking with our loved ones and looking at a recent picture of them. Who knew?

Winter has definitely arrived. It’s about the messiest and most depressing time of year. Everything is in shades of brown and gray and totally soaked. The minute I step outside the moisture in the air chills to the bone. It’s the time of year when I actually think of moving to a warmer climate. However, that isn’t even worth thinking about because I know I’ll never do it. Habit and circumstances will keep me right here.

Who would feed all the birds and give them water? They must be checked night and morning to make sure they have everything they need. It is, I confess, a lot of work in bad weather but they are beautiful. I love their songs in early Spring as the ones who were babies last year are now looking for a mate. It is so special to see a male cardinal woo the prospects. He will pick up a choice morsel and take it to her…..if she accepts it he hurries to find another. She will allow it and then they rub beaks. Soon they are building a nest, a first for both of them, and they raise their little brood around the yard here………bringing them to the feed and water. They are one of the bird species who mate for life. When it snows and they light in one of the pines their bright color is almost iridescent.

I wonder if God looks upon us all and finds pleasure as we come to the things He has prepared for us. The birds don’t know their benefactor and so many times we don’t find the goodness He has been faithful to spread in front of us.

We are gifted by grace and we receive in the portions we give. God loves a cheerful giver and try as we might……we can never out-give Him.

Essentially Esther

Sunday, January 09, 2011


“I open windows to see out, open doors to go out, and read books to find out.”
(Anonymous quotation.)

Some days I know what I’m going to write in my blog. Some days my mind is blank and I’m waiting for a “vision” it seems. However, once I get to the keyboard I begin to have thoughts race through my mind. With the holidays behind us and the midst of winter on us there is less contact with the “outside.”

Every two weeks my Schwan man comes who is just a kid. I’ve had several delivery changes in the years I’ve ordered from them. The most recent is this young man who has a wife and little boy. He has the manners and kindness of a Saint, always asking how I am, if I had a good holiday, and treats me like his grandmother. Now I know some of you are thinking…… “well of course, he’s a salesman who wants an order.” At my age I’ve had many salesmen cross my threshold and trust me, he restores my faith in salesmen.

I remember when the children were just toddlers and we were having a hard time making ends meet. One day a salesman came to the door selling Childcraft Encyclopedias. He promised if I would just let him show me the books he would give me a sample. (A vision I now see as the witch giving Snow White an apple.)

I was 24 at the time and mindful of my manners. So I allowed him in and he showed me the whole nine yards. I wanted the books but I tried gracefully to tell him we couldn’t afford them. I hated to be rude and was wanting him to leave so I finally caved in and agreed to buy them. Of course, when the first payment came due and thereafter, I had plenty of time to regret my well intended purchase. The next week I was walking to the grocery store in my neighborhood and saw the salesman. I smiled and would have spoke but he recognized me and made sure I didn’t have the opportunity. He walked to the curb not looking at me and crossed the street. There was no doubt that he recognized me. The man who had the great personality the week before was obviously “done” with me now.

I did love the books and read to the children until they were old enough to read. The books were well-worn and loved. Becky read to her children from them and then went to John and Barb for LJ. The nursery rhymes and stories were geared with content and colorful pictures for a young audience. Occasionally Becky and I quote some of the things that had impressed her at the time. Family reading is so important.

My aunt Inabelle, one of my mother’s sisters, always sent a book in her Christmas box. We loved getting her gifts. I read each of the books aloud as they came to the children. The Island of Blue Dolphins, Brighty of the Grand Canyon, Winnie the Pooh, Stuart Little, Misty and Stormy of Chincoteague to name a few. Of course part of the reason I had a captive audience was because our television quit working and for 6-months we couldn’t afford to have it fixed. However tragic it seemed at the time it remains as some of my best memories.

I want to commend Barbara because at an early age of LJ she read to him every night at bedtime. No matter the temptation to skip because of company she didn’t get to see very often, she continued on. I don’t know exactly when their nightly story time stopped but they both looked forward to it at the end of each day. Becky read to her children often and I am happy all three of my children love reading and are quite good at writing when they take a notion.

As for myself it has always been important to me to express my feelings....it keeps me grounded to revisit the days gone by.

Essentially Esther

Thursday, January 06, 2011


Two days ago, January 4th was the seventh year of blogging for me. In those seven years there has been a lot of changes. Changes from my family to the world at large. Just over the past few years we have seen weather pummel the earth with all but a death blow. Raging water, snow accumulations, earthquakes, run-a-way fires, devastating tornados……..the list is endless. Human suffering on all levels has come in the form of cancers, wars and all out murder and desecration .

If the Bible Belt thought crime was just in heavily populated areas they were wrong. The big move has been to small towns and rural America. Parents killing children and children killing parents. One of the greatest shames is the sexual abuse foisted on children who cannot defend themselves……and too often from people or places they should be safe around.

I have to laugh when I look back to the birth of many common items we now have in our homes. My mother and father used to talk about how they came from horse and buggy days to men walking on the moon. Dad told about his first look at an automobile that left him speechless. Top speed at something like 10 miles an hour. On the spot he made up his mind to own one someday. Of course that decision had to wait on funds. Dad was in love with automobiles.

Dad had six brothers of which he was next to the youngest. His older brothers bought automobiles soon after they left the farm for work elsewhere. Dad would laugh and talk about how they would all race each other. They were in love with speed. When Dad was finally able to realize his dream to own an automobile if another could beat the one he was driving he would buy the faster one as soon as he could. Racing was in their blood.

As I look around the house and see the things that have been invented in my lifetime I’m amazed how many there are. The evolution of electronics is mind boggling. I remember the children watching the “Jetsons” and how they wished it was real about talking to someone without a telephone. How neat it would be to be able to live in their world at the time. Those kids grew up and became entrepreneurs of things we didn’t know was out there.

I do have a cell phone and computer but pretty basic ones. My computer is seven years old now and is full to the brim. I refrain from buying a new one because I can’t justify it. If this works, then I need to work with it. I’m sort of a blend of what was and what is. I want to keep current with things but my upbringing always takes precedence over spending when something isn't broken. I need to brace against the inevitable though because some day my Dell is going to have to be replaced.

The waterfall picture is at the end of the street where a friend of mine from high school lives. He has lived in Germany many years and I always enjoy his pictures. January seemed a good time for a frozen waterfall picture.

Essentially Esther

Monday, January 03, 2011


The remnants of the past year are being scooped up and cast aside. We are beginning the third day of a new year. Resolutions are not for the geriatric crowd. We’ve lived long enough to know we won’t even get through the first day. Besides that we know all the good intentions are just that…….good intentions.

We cut through unrealistic ideas and keep on doing all those things doctors said would kill us 40 years ago. Still here, still kickin’ so what do they know? We’ve all had a lot of friends who were resolutely careful about what they ate and lived half their life in the gym. Where are they now? In the box where we keep all the obits and folders we were handed at their funerals.

I’m not particularly smart…….but I do learn from past mistakes and heartache. I have loved much and most of the time been loved back. If it is one-sided, I’m smart enough to drop and punt. There are other people who need love. I’m talking the love of friends, here……. I’ve never figured out what makes a friend, a friend. Some draw us into a special place of friendship while others find us irritating. The smart thing to do is decide which is which.

“Out with the old and in with the new.” The new little baby comes in on January 1st and the old man goes out. Not many people know where the old man goes but I have it from a reliable source that he goes to the South Pacific and winters with Santa Clause. They entertain one another with their stories of the past year and eat coconuts and pineapple.

Do the things you like more than once and don’t do what you don’t like. Do what you can, while you can, where you can and don’t fuss over what you can’t. We are all very special to someone so don’t forget the power of a smile. People respond to a smile with a smile and that makes everyone happy.

So Happy New Year to all, I think I see that new little baby…..I think I’ll go smile at him.

Essentially Esther

Saturday, January 01, 2011


I stepped out on the deck to shake a rug this morning and I heard geese overhead flying south. I stayed there until I couldn’t hear them anymore. Something about that sound touches me and I don’t even know why. How do they know when to go? How do they know the way? How do they know how to stay in their customary V and then change off with the lead goose?

I read an article in the Reader’s Digest once which told of an unexpected cold front that came down from Canada to Maine. It caught a flock of geese in flight and because the snow and ice was coming down so thick they had to divert their intentions and wait for the weather to clear. They were there some time and one goose had it’s feet frozen to the ice. The weather finally cleared and the writer told how three other geese came to it and pecked away the ice until the goose could take flight with the rest of the flock. How did they know to do that or why did they bother?

God’s creatures are amazing to me. They all have a sense of purpose and live their lives out majestically even though they are often abused, left behind, dumped out on the road or worse. I am surprised at so many who never take another mate if something happens to their first one. In so many ways they exemplify loyalty and caring better than many of the human species. We’ve seen animal mothers who take on strange orphaned babies and care for them as much as their own.

Well, that is how my first day of January began. Reflective and lost in thought. I haven’t made any resolutions because I always try to do the best I can with what I have and with the best intentions. To the people who read Essentially Esther and I will never see, welcome. Family and friends, dear to my heart, and to all……..may you have a healthy, prosperous, New Year.

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”………….. Norman Cousins

Essentially Esther