Essentially Esther Banner

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I was hypnotized by Irene for several days. First was the tracking and since Irene moved slow it took a while to hit the east coast. Then the poor reporters were standing in the wind and rain while they did their best to bring it to us as they were seeing and feeling it.

Just when everyone was thinking it wasn’t going to be so bad….even complaining the media made too much out of it with the forced evacuations etc; as Nature will do, she turned around and dropped tons of water in hilly Vermont. Well, that was the worst of it. The authorities kept telling everyone the flooding would be significant but of course the common citizen usually has a better idea about things.

I am an unusual woman. I listen to whatever the situation is and follow through by taking the precautions we are provided with. I say that with no pride for it is wise to consider the odds and then do the homework. These people have spent the larger part of their lives becoming educated in their chosen field and then working their best to keep the community at large……safe.

The flood pictures out of Vermont were heart rendering. I feel sorry for all of the ones who lost homes, family, pets………and if their homes were in tact, they were full of water which ruins everything that is below the water level. As I look around my home I see that would be almost all of the contents.

There will be years before things are returned to the prior conditions but as with the tornado that hit Greensburg, KS and Joplin, MO it seems to bring people together who have survived the worst and lived to tell it. They find the simple truth that “things” are not what make us who we are.

At times like these there is a wonderful coming together not only in the communities in the line of the disaster but good people are always better people when it comes to offering help to the needy. They have come from all over the country and even some from foreign countries to help in Joplin and Greensburg. Just when we’re about ready to think all courtesy and benevolence is dead, a tragedy shows it is not.

Perhaps we need a wakening to jolt us into action at times. Maybe we just need a really big reason to help or to give. Whatever it is, I commend everyone who dropped what they were doing and answered the call. We just might be worth saving after all…………..

Essentially Esther

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Do you know what a “slippery slide” is? I was talking to Brady, my ‘ GG-son about his day at school. He said, “Well, I got in trouble today.” Surprised, I asked why and he went on……. “because I threw rocks on the slide.” Humm….. “I asked if it was the slippery slide” and he, my grandson and wife and Becky all looked at me like one looks at elders who have no clue what they’re talking about. In unison, they all said, “It’s the “slide.” There is no slippery to it. Where did that come from?”

Why should I be surprised? Absolutely nothing is the same anymore. Try talking to your young grandchildren about “ice-boxes or pop, running boards on cars, a picture show or black and white television. The list goes on…….you can probably add many of your own.

I remember mom and dad talking about Rudolph Valentino, a wildly popular movie star who had all the women swooning in the “picture shows. “ Back in the wild and roaring 20’s with no sound to them what the actors would have said was written across the bottom of the pictures as they flashed by. The actors were moving their lips as if they were talking so lip syncing was started long ago with a different reference. The movie was further enhanced by someone playing a large organ with music corresponding to the film. They sat down at the far edge of the orchestra pit and played away until the end of the movie.

When they figured out how to get sound into movies poor Rudolph Valentino was laughed right out of his job. His career was over and all because he had a high-pitched squeaky voice that didn’t do a thing for the love scenes or talking to the villain in a commanding way. The big change was unkind to Rudolph.

Something I remember, going to the movies on Saturdays, there would be two afternoon shows, then a stage show, then three more movies after that. For the price of one ticket, one could stay and see them all. The live stage show in-between the matinee and evening movies was different every week. I remember one time a lady was riding a white horse, wearing a long bright red dress that was flared over the horse’s back……..a man led the horse in and held on to the bridle until she was finished singing….then they continued on across the stage and out of sight.

Years go by and memory holds a lot of information that’s obsolete to any who have no history with it. In the blink of an eye the youngsters will be telling their grand-children things that sound as foreign and ridiculous.

That’s just the way it goes around……..picture show, movies or whatever they may be called is a ticket to a land of make believe.

Essentially Esther

Thursday, August 18, 2011


This picture is Brady Cunningham, my great-grandson. His first day at school was Wednesday and of course GG had to take a picture. He came to visit with his dad and everything was going well until dad started talking about all the things he had to do the next day.

Since Brady was born, he has been daddy’s little shadow but now he will miss all of those times to be in school. He hasn’t figured out yet that school is going to take up everything but the weekends. Kindergarten was only one-half day when my children went to school but now it’s all day. That’s quite a bit for a five-year old to adapt to but I guess it will become routine after a week or two.

I used to look at my mother’s school pictures and think they looked so funny. The girls all wore long plaid dresses with high topped shoes and long brown stockings. I knew all about the long stockings because I had worn them every winter until I was old enough to realize I was the only girl in the room wearing them. Their only redemption was at Christmas time. (They held lots more goodies and to prove it, my brother would always borrow one to hang.) Moms pictures were sepia in color and all the girls had long hair flowing down. My mother never had her hair cut until she married my dad and because she had frequent headaches he talked her into getting it cut. She had beautiful auburn hair and at the age of 21 it was cut. My grandmother didn’t approve at all for some reason. Grandma died at the age of (almost) 91 and never had her hair cut.

When I looked at my own school pictures, of course they were “modern.” But as I looked at them in comparison to the pictures my own children brought home, they were as “old fashioned” as my mother’s looked to me. It’s amazing how a generation changes in hair styles, clothing and such.

From my elders, my grandmother, my mother; through me, through my daughter, and through her, to her son, to Brady. That’s just one side of the family but all together we contributed to his first day of school. So to all the children going for the first time……..congratulations. You are on your way for a long journey of learning. From learning comes inspiration and dreams……….it all begins now.

“I open windows to see out, I open doors to go out, I open books to find out.
(Author unknown)

Essentially Esther

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I am woman……..therefore I am strong. Childhood, marriage, children prepare us for the years we will lose it all. We grow old, sometimes in the same marriage, sometimes not. The children have been well cared for…….sacrifices made with a smile as we watched them learn to fly. Then one day, they flew away, never to return the same.

One by one the years come and go. The hands that used to hold babies are now gnarled and old. They are useful, even so, because they have been the forerunner of everything accomplished. Simple as that may be they have been first to act in any endeavor. They have been kind when needed, strong to help; slow to act in conflict, yet, ready to come to unexpected problems with grace.

Life is a gift that we are prepared for. Never think someone is having all the luck or wealth or life without grief. The day we are born we have everything we will ever need to have a good life. There is a check and balance in each of us.

I am strong. I have faced life and death and I am not afraid.

But still…..I heard our song today…..and cried.

I am woman………..

Essentially Esther

Friday, August 12, 2011


My good friend, Rosalie, and I have kept in touch over the years when we were no longer neighbors. We lived across the street from one another since the late 50’s or early 60’s. (Rosalie, put a comment on for the correct time.) They moved in across the street and an older couple came and went whenever the car left the driveway. The weather wasn’t giving an inch with the cold hanging on. Eventually, I didn’t see the older couple anymore…..and assumed they had been visiting.

Later, when I went to pay a visit and welcome the family to the neighborhood, I learned they were her in-laws from Emporia, KS and had been staying with them while her father-in-law was getting cancer treatments. Our little community was actually a suburb of Kansas City, MO and without traffic at rush hour it was just a hop, skip and jump to downtown KC where there were hospitals all over the place. In those days, Shawnee, still had grassy areas with cows, grazing down the street. It was so nice to go out in the back yard and watch them as I hung laundry.

Our neighborhood was built soon after WW11when the G.I.’s came home from the war. Many of those were bought by guys who just wanted to start their family and own their own homes. Since then, the children of those Veterans have grown up and bought the houses they were raised in. So the neighborhood is populated by the kids who grew up there, considerably. The homes were nice but a little on the “un-wow” side. Most had been refurbished outside and in and had become very nice for “first homes” to those kids who didn’t want to move from the neighborhood.

Well, Rosalie and I were “stay-at-home” moms. It was by choice and we were dedicated to raising our children up right. She was 6-years younger with younger children so I was more like a big sister to her. As for my children?? Well, I tried.

I told Rosalie I would show her my prize surprise on the blog today. Last year they were little miniature Hollyhocks and I loved them. I have been on a Hollyhock binge for ages. Could NOT get them to grow here but this year they made a good showing. In the same place I had the mini’s last year, I had a large Hollyhock come up but none of the little ones. When the Hollyhock started blooming it was such a dark purple it looked black. The blooms on it looked like chrysanthemums. So now when you look at the picture you will know what you’re looking at. Thanks to Richard for taking the picture.

And by the way, Rosalie, I’m saving some of the seed of the one in the picture so you can plant some of your own. If planted anytime now they will come up next spring so I’ll get some in the mail for you………but you know the important thing,

Do NOT thank me for them………

Essentially Esther

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


The grandchildren brought home a little starved kitty. They found it at a place they intend renting and the little kitten followed after them as they were leaving. As weak and starved as it was he tried to keep up with them. When they noticed him they couldn’t leave him out of pity.

When I saw him my heart ached. How could anyone not take care of a poor desperate kitten? He was only skin, fur and bones. I could literally feel every bone in his body. Since he was so sick I asked to bring him home with me to clean him up and try to get him to eat. I wanted to take him to the Vet as soon as they were open. The children and mom and dad agreed that he should have quiet and tender care.

His eyes were matted shut from infection and I was able to finally get them open after gently wiping with a wet cotton pad. I gave him water with an eye dropper and some canned cat food I keep on hand for my kitties. He ate until he just couldn’t hold anymore. I cleaned him up as best I could and wrapped him up in a soft towel. I sat in Rocky’s rocking chair and held him next to me and rocked until bedtime. He was clean and full and getting the attention he deserved.

I made a bed for him in the bathtub and in the morning we started all over again. I took him to the Vet and he had ear mites, the infected eyes and was full of fleas. I was able to get some of them picked off as I bathed him because he wasn’t well enough to have any treatment for them yet.

Another night passed and the next morning was pretty routine except I was concerned he wasn’t able to eat like he had before. He would take a few bites and then his little face rested in his bowl. I knew if he didn’t eat we were in trouble. I tried until he just didn’t respond to the food……so I let him rest. He died about 1:00 yesterday afternoon in my arms.

It was hard to give him up. At most, he was only six weeks old. Not much time for a little guy who met such terrible odds of staying alive. He was named “little Rocky” by our great-grandson. He said he wanted to name him Rocky but that was grandpa’s name so he named him “little Rocky.”

Jonathan, Becky and I went back in our yard where all of our pets are buried just at the edge of the woods. We buried him with a prayer for God to receive him and to help us as we mourn. He lies next to a little male cat that Becky had and lost when he was young. We like to think he has company now with little Rocky……and LR won’t have to be alone either.

I chose a picture of a beautiful kitty because I know that is how he looks now. Only God knows when it is best to bring a pet back to Him. Perhaps he would have had a terrible end had he lived……but apart from my grief, I can be comforted knowing that he is with God now and we were really blessed to have had him for awhile.

Essentially Esther

Friday, August 05, 2011


Gardening, and especially flower gardening, brings beauty to the soul. All of the old masters who painted could never equal the colors God put Nature in charge of. Have we seen all of the colors heaven has to offer? I think not. There are ones who have been clinically dead for a period of time and the stories they tell are amazing. I remember one, in particular, that told of colors never seen before.

Color either shouts or soothes to any who take notice……for years I banned oranges and yellows from my garden but then I had an “about face” because of the humming birds. This year I couldn’t do much about new planting because of the heavy rains in May and June…….then the weather turned too hot to be safe working outside. The garden did more or less what it wanted without me. I mostly “dead headed” and picked blooms to dry for the cards I make. On cooler days I pull weeds.

Every few years I find another favorite flower but the ones I have, mostly, are the kind that birds and butterflies like. I enjoy watching them flit from flower to flower. The picture is part of the lilies and they were so pretty this year. Bright, glorious colors and lots of them.

I am in fine company with flower gardeners. Some paint them, some use them for bouquets, others are dried and made into beautiful arrangements and so on, but mostly they are to be loved and shared…..even if it has to be done in film.

Essentially Esther

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Today is Jennifer’s 39th birthday. She was born in Sacramento, CA and 10 days later came back to Missouri. I guess she was meant to travel because she has left a lot of tracks behind.

Jennifer, for those of you who don’t know, is my only grand-daughter and is Becky’s only daughter. We’ve had a lot of fun over the years and she has quite a story to tell. Maybe when she’s older she could be talked into a posting on a blog as I have done.

So Jennifer, my dear, here’s hoping you have a wonderful day deserving of you and you have many more years to enjoy your success.

You are loved by all of us who call you family and look forward to seeing you the next time.

Love to you from Grandma.


Richard took our picture on yesterday’s blog so today I’m putting him and Marie (sister) on the post. Don’t want to leave anyone out!!!

Our weather is the same…..three digits and still climbing. The AC runs constantly and is keeping us nice and cool. I see no reason to go out and suffer so I’m doing indoor things like I do in the winter when it’s too cold to go out.

That means about sundown I will water the flowers and some of the more fragile bushes. The heat is beginning to take it’s toll on the crape myrtles. They are one of my favorites because of their beautiful colors and long blooming time.

The outdoor cats are keeping under bushes or anything that looks shady and comfortable. I don’t put them in the garage at night because it stays hot in there from mid morning on through the day. Napoleon sleeps near them after he’s dug out the shape of his body and snuggles into it. He isn’t eating as much and neither are the cats. Napoleon is losing his feathers now so mating season is over and he’ll have to grow another tail. He looks funny when all his pretty feathers are gone.

Today is Jennifer’s birthday….her mother being Becky. She lives half way across the country from us so we don’t get to see her very often. I’m hoping it’s a great day with lots of unexpected surprises and all of them, good ones.

I’m off to mail some cards so until the next time……..

Essentially Esther

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


It is hard to imagine the impact plant and animal life is suffering because of our drought. The yard has turned mostly brown and the flowers are hanging on with the water I give them sometimes twice a day. The lush foliage and blooms are now struggling to live out their purpose and it is sad to see.

The damage will be costly to me but nothing like the farmers who saw their crops under water or burnt up from lack of rain. Texas would be happy with any kind of water. The wildlife and domestic animals are dying for lack of food and water…..and then the terrible heat gives no comfort at all.

Some pray for rain, others pray for floodwaters to return to the rivers they came from. The streams of refugees coming out of warring countries in Africa are starving, many watch as their children die in their arms. The heat and flies with lack of food or minimum needs is a testament of how mankind has ignored the helpless.

The sheer numbers of people is astounding. The cities around the world keep increasing and soon there will not be enough room for more. I have lived a life of the American dream. I am not wealthy and don’t want to be. It takes just so much to live on for anyone and my home is right for me. When women are widowed there is a large imbalance to face.

The woman still has all the work she always did. Scrubbing the floors, laundry and cooking for starters, but what they have to do after a loved ones death is to take on his responsibilities as well. How to clean the furnace/AC, keeping the car clean, gassed and serviced, tires checked and all that guy stuff they do.

The picture above was taken when Rocky’s brother and sister and sister-in-law visited in mid-June. The flowers were looking great at that time and I had lilies everywhere. The lillies are gone now but leave a beautiful memory of their stately existence.

Essentially Esther