Weird Year

Football season is upon us, grandson Two has his first game today. He is a sophomore, and the JV plays on Wednesday evening, after the freshman team.

It’s strange because grandson One will not be playing football this year. We have watched him play for may years, since he was in third grade. I guess that adds up to 10 years, but it seems like a lifetime. He loves football, and loved to play.

Two is hanging around home, working on some projects and waiting for his date with the Navy. He has run a couple of errands for me this week, for milk and paint. It was handy to have him here to go, but that is not the reason I will miss him. His live has become entangled with ours, and it feels like he should just be here. But, birds will fly and so will he.

So, it’s football, ready or not. I’m not.

Kids Songs

Both of our granddaughters are visiting again, a real treat. Granddaughter Two is 2, her birthday was in June. She talks a blue streak, in sentences of more than a couple of words. Actually, it’s more like paragraphs. Yesterday we made a visit to Greenfield Village. This has been a favorite place of granddaughter One, granddaughter Two seems to like it fine also. We were on the way home when Two began singing.

In the car and at home if I’m not listening to CDs, I listen to my Sirius radio, on the bluegrass channel, 65, if you want to give it a chance. It’s pretty good, and a hundred time better than regular radio.

When I realized Two was singing, I turned it off and heard quite a bit. Row, Row, Row Your Boat; If You’re Happy and You Know It; Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star; Old McDonald—which is not to be confused with “Donald’s”, the golden arches. Pretty soon we were all singing and had a great drive home.

When daughter Two called last night, I asked her how many songs granddaughter Two knows, and she started listing them. It was a long list and I’m not sure any of us have the answer. All the kids like music, but Two puts in into action better than the others.

What Will Be Will Be…

The best news every, daughter Two and her husband sold their house. I wrote about her new job recently, but we’ve all been holding our breath about the house. There is nothing worse that trying to maintain a house you no longer need, Papa and I did it for a while after our last move. Thank goodness Two and her family can move on without having to do so.

Do You Know This Lady?

She rolled into the KC Campground near Milan, Michigan last weekend, parked her bus, set up her table to sell CD’s, and put on four great sets, and three of her band members have played with her less than eight months.

She runs at least two businesses, a driving school and a touring bluegrass band. Last weekend Papa saw her bring a boy, about 12 or 13, into a music vendor’s tent. She bought a bridge (and perhaps some other parts) for the kid’s mandolin. She took the time to restring the mandolin with the new bridge and make sure it played all right.

She (and her band) were seen in the campground, jamming with the attendees. She brought several of them on stage with her in her final performance Friday night to show their talents. They were not all future stars, but all enjoyed the festival, the music, and the company of others like-minded.

At the end of last year there was some controversy concerning the circumstances under which some members left her band. It might be pertinent to note that many bluegrass bands have revolving door membership rosters. It is not unusual to see changes, and mostly no one thinks much of it.

I really have no clue of the cause of the band breaking up, and I’m inclined to believe that there are as many sides to a story as there are people involved. I wrote a short post in support of her on a bluegrass forum I read regularly. At that time we had seen her shortly after the departure of the older members; she had a makeshift band performing at a show for New Year’s Eve.

Here’s what I thought then, and I think now. For some reason woman doing jobs or activities that are normally associated with the other gender attract more criticism than a man in similar circumstances. Competent business people can be successful wherever they choose, by applying consistent, proven, professional techniques. Expecting to get the result you desire is not a sin. As my Dad used to say, whoever pays the bills calls the shots.

If you have a chance, I hope you will see Lorraine Jordan’s Carolina Road Band somewhere soon, and find out what I’m talking about.

Papa’s Not Sharing


It’s garden season here at home. We have cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, peas, beets, zucchini and green beans. Radishes are done; they were used to mark the beet and carrot rows and are harvested. Michigan corn is cheap at the grocery and farm markets, so we don’t grow it in our limited space.

We have mostly veggies at a meal, and I don’t cook potatoes very often.

One evening last week when granddaughters One and Two were here we sat down the supper and everything was going smoothly. Granddaughters are used to their plates coming prepared and cooled, so I had done that. The veggies I gave them were corn and green beans, since they ate those well the night before.

Papa’s favorite is peas, any season, any form. Anyhow, a bowl of peas was on the table, closer to him than anyone. Papa is well know for feeding children. We have pictures of all our children and grandchildren on Papa’s lap, eating his food, while he happily shovels away.

Five in minutes into the dinner, granddaughter Two, who is two years old, looked up and said loudly, “Papa isn’t sharing the peas!”

She got all the peas she wanted.

Back home again

I have successfully retrieved our granddaughters, the secret now is to survive to the end of the week. We’ve been to two stores, put gas in my van, and raided the library for books and videos. We’ve eaten two meals and gone through two changes of clothing.

I found from daughter Two’s experience that it is best to duct tape granddaughter Two’s diaper. She removes wet or dirty ones immediately, regardless of where she is. Luckily she was in her bed the last time, unluckily it was a poopy one. Glad it hasn’t happened to me and doing everything to prevent it.

Granddaughter One is suffering from periodic homesickness. She knows changes are going on, and she also knows she has no control. It is mostly at bedtime, and that has always been her hard time. In an attempt to keep her mind engaged in what’s going on, I made a chart with a space for each day she will be here, and for the day she is going home. Then, we thought up things to do and drew pictures of those activities on cards. Each time we do an activity, we are putting the card for it on the day we did it. So far we have library, store and TV on today’s chart. At least she can visually see how long till she can go home. Wish me luck, I’ll need it.

On the Road Again?

Daughter Two is moving. This is because of the new job, which is a world away from her current home. Two needs to be in the new city with her family ready to go to work in late August. She has a house to clean out, needs to pack up, and has three small children at home; and her husband is gone on a 2 week assignment.

I’d probably kill myself, but she is having a garage sale, this Saturday. Remember, she received the job offer 10 days ago! This is really a good change for her and her family.

To do my little part, I’m going to drive up today and retrieve my granddaughters. Today, not when the stars come out. Grandson Three is going to a day camp and isn’t retrievable.

Daughter Two is heading up north on Friday after work to assist with the garage sale. I think she might have the easier job, but mine is more fun!

Speaking of “up North”, I just looked it up and found that Wikipedia says I mean the upper peninsula of Michigan. I don’t. Everyone in the Detroit Metro area goes “up North” on vacation and they can mean anything north of M-46–or perhaps north of Oakland County. Check a map if you care. I read a newspaper article after I moved here (from up North) that talked about the “up north” phenomenon. It said that some Detroit-area elementary school children thought “up North” was the name of the place they went, as in a city name. Really, it’s just a concept. It means rural, quiet, no job, vacation, fun, lakes, summer, skiing, etc, etc, etc. Unfortunately, to some people it means hick, dumb, dull and so on.

Since I was born in one of those little towns, and lived there for 40 years, I get easily insulted when the Mufia (yes we have them in the Detroit suburbs too) talk about it.

But, what matters is that daughter Two will get as much help and support as we can give and I get to have 2 cute little girls visit for the rest of the week.

Class Reunion

Papa had a class reunion last Saturday, and I accompanied him. There were the usual assortment, old friends, fun people and not-so-fun people. The food was pretty good, and after 40 years no one was so nervous that drank too much. Many were retired already, making some of us sad for ourselves, but glad for them.

One man asked me if I had graduated from that school. When I said yes, he asked me my former last name. When he heard that, he pointed out that my dad and his had been buddies. That was a revelation to me. I barely had time to grow up before my dad passed away. I never considered him from an adult perspective, certainly never with “buddies”. I did know he had friends, but buddies? We had a short conversation and I got some good advice, “remember the good times”.

So, no matter what the situation, remember the good times.

Not Until the Stars Come Out

After our wonderful vacation last week, we were driving home on Sunday, when Lex stalled at one of those wonderful turnpike toll booths. Papa started him up, and gave me the look. The battery wasn’t charging.

At the next service area, Papa put one of the house batteries in the engine position. For the uninitiated, most motor homes have “house” batteries and an engine battery. The two house batteries were in great condition, since we were plugged in at the campground. The engine battery is isolated from the house (so you don’t use all the power you have to run your lights or whatever) and doesn’t benefit from charging when plugged in.

It was 9:30 a.m. or so, and we were several hours from home. We gave each other uneasy looks. I turned off the refrigerator so it wouldn’t drain power from the remaining house battery and off we went. The diagnosis was failed alternator, since no charging was taking place as we drove along. No radio, no new CD’s played, nothing but the engine and our uneasy sighs and glances.

The problem was that we needed to get home, and fast. We had left early, and with good reason. Daughter two had an job interview and I had agreed to pick up grandson Three and granddaughters One and Two in the early afternoon in a town 1-1/2 hours north of our home. I called daughter two, no answer. I called the rendezvous point, daughter’s mother-in-law. She said OK and good luck. When daughter Two called us back at 10:30 we were still chugging along.

At the next service area, Papa filled up with gas and turned on the generator. The idea was that that would charge up the battery which was put in the house position when he made the swap. If we needed to, we would have two charged batteries to switch to the engine to get us home. The battery we were running on hung in there, and after we paid our toll and left the toll road in Ohio and headed up I-75 north toward home, I turned off the generator.

A little after 1:00 p.m. we pulled into our drive, what a relief. We plugged Lex in, took showers, ate, and headed out to get the kids.

So what is the point of the title? We were privileged to have our “little” grandchildren here for two nights, the second daughter Two was here also. That second evening we were making every attempt to get the kids ready for bed. Daughter told granddaughter One that it was almost time for bed. That lovely girl is almost 4, and sometimes can make us laugh. She said about 4 or 5 sentences, rant like, and ended with “Not until the stars come out”. The message us very clear, she wouldn’t go to bed or sleep when it’s “blue”, it needs to be dark.

So, we had fun, went to bed late, and got a good laugh. We are awaiting the estimate on the alternator for Lex, and daughter Two got the job. So, if you want to buy a 4 bedroom house on a very large lot just north of Reed City, Michigan for a reasonable price, e-mail us now!

Summer days

It’s been a long couple of weeks. We enjoyed a 3-day camping trip with grandson Three and granddaughter One. They were fun, for the fishing, s’mores, the fireworks, and the whole weekend in general. We took them to meet their mom, daughter Two and drove Lex home for re-supply.

Garden, laundry, and one nights sleep and we were off to Pennsylvania. Grandson Three says, “where the pencils live”. We didn’t see a single pencil, they probably rolled away. Papa and I spend six great nights alone-that sure doesn’t happen too often.

We saw a bunch of great bluegrass bands at the Mountain Top Festival, near Tarentum, Pennsylvania. The groups included a favorite of Sista Smiff, The Grascals. The Grascals are in a class by themselves, as far as I’m concerned.

We also were able to see Kenny Baker on fiddle with several different groups. Smoothest fiddle player of all time. Audie Blaylock and Michael Cleveland have teamed up and did 2 great shows.

Then back home to a lot of un-done chores which may never get done. Papa has a class reunion this weekend–so we’re off to see all the old people. Well, they seem old to us, even though we don’t feel any different.

I’ve got to pull some weeds!