Daylight Savings

For the past few weeks I’ve been sleeping a little later in the mornings, as if this old body was preparing for the inevitable “fall back” of the clocks. My circadian rhythms fell right in line today when I woke up at sunrise to take back the hour, seize the day, soak up the sunshine. It was a short one, that’s for sure, but the days will only get shorter until !! Christmas !! In the meantime, I’ll make the best of what’s around…

I used my Nikon to take pictures at the cemetery this week and I am very disappointed that I cannot seem to get the USB cord to transfer to my computer, so… Use your imagination: gravestones, old ones, all in a row, inscriptions barely legible, sitting precariously on their foundations. I failed to find my 2x great grandmother for certain, but I think her stone may have just aged to a point that I cannot read the name. She died in 1876 and despite the care the graveyard receives, time takes its toll.

I was cruising from Albion to Grayville, last leg of the trip, before I realized that my Mom was riding shotgun. Yes, I seriously felt her presence as I pulled in to Oak Grove cemetery where her parents are buried, but of course I would in that place on the 20th anniversary of her death. I paid my respects to Grandma and Grandpa and drove down Martin St. to see the spot where their house stood; it recently burned to the ground. There is a 5th-wheel hooked up there now, so we hustled on by, heading for my cousin Jeff’s house. When I got to the highway, for some reason (Mom) I turned right, knowing full well I should turn left, so I turned back toward the river a couple of blocks away. As soon as I turned, I realized I was on the street where Mom’s sister, Aunt Clara, used to live; that’s when I Knew For Sure that Mom was there with me. We stopped at the corner and stared for a while at the house that holds so many fond memories. It is seriously falling down, kind of sinking, and I wouldn’t want to stand under the back porch from the look of it, but I could imagine the ghosts gathered around the kitchen table, laughing and arguing. It was 20 years ago today that Aunt Clara died- yes, just four days after my Mom -and I was definitely feeling her presence, as well.

Turning back toward Jeff’s, I slowly drove by where Grandma Goodson lived — nothing there now, not even a trailer — but in my mind’s eye I could see the barn where Grandma Eaton kept her cow; her only form of refuge from her nine kids was walking down there every morning to do the milking. I finally drove on, turned again and landed at Jeff’s house.

Though I don’t have any cemetery pictures, I snapped these this evening…

I need to read five more books to meet my Reading Challenge this year, so I found some short novels that are just lovely…and brief…like this blog post.

November looks pretty boring right now, but Maybe I can find some Events this month to entertain us.


All Souls

Here we are, halfway between the Autumn equinox and the Winter solstice, feeling the days get shorter and the nights stretch longer. Legend has it that the veil between the earthly plane and the spiritual world is thinnest at this time, making it easier for spirits to cross over and walk among the living, and vice versa–souls ready to move on easily make their exit. So it follows, that it is easier to commune with spirits around this time, especially those of deceased loved ones.

Twenty years ago, November 2, 2002, my Mom passed peacefully through that thin veil, in her sleep. She wasn’t even sick, just went to bed that night, fully expecting to wake up the next day. It was a wonderful, blessed way to die, but a terrible shock to our family. I have always fancied the idea that her loved ones slipped through the veil and took her into the Afterlife. (Not a hill I’d die on, but a comforting thought, nonetheless.)

The Mexican celebration of Día de los Muertos, observed November 1-2, honors the souls of those who have passed, and on those days their ancestors are believed to visit their earthly families. Celebrants decorate elaborate home altars with flowers, candles and their loved ones’ favorite foods

Festivities often extend into cemeteries, where families visit gravesites of beloved family members, often delivering picnics and playing festive music. I envy this tradition, especially the way it is portrayed in the movie “Coco”; you should watch it.

In their usual way, the Catholic Church appropriated the pagan holidays of Samhain, when the veil thins, and established All Saints Day on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2. Despite some really good hymns and naming the folks who died the past year, they fall short of actually acknowledging the Spirit World and the community of ancestors who already inhabit the life beyond this life.

I decided last Memorial Day to start doing my grave-decorating on the Days of the Dead. Remember when we called Memorial Day “Decoration Day”? It has morphed into a Veterans’ Day of sorts and I think the Mexican Way of remembering your deceased ancestors is more appropriate for my purpose, which is to celebrate the continuum of life.

I’ve learned so much from studying and charting my genealogy, not just facts, but a perspective that life is more than just the dash between our birth and death dates; we are on a spectrum that includes what was passed on to us by our elders, what we’ve learned from the times in which we are born, and what we, in turn, pass on to our descendants.

In what I hope becomes a tradition, off I go this Tuesday to take a picnic over to Southern Illinois and hit up some old cemeteries. I still need to find the tomb of my 2x great-grandmother, Analiza McWilliams Kinkade, and her parents; I was soo close the last time I looked and I think I’ll locate it this time. My 2x great-grandfather, Alexander Kinkade, is buried in a whole ‘nother cemetery, and I’d like to visit him, too. Last time I was at the Lick Prairie Cemetery, where 3x great-grandfather Benjamin Franklin Mayne is buried, I didn’t realize how many (a lot) of my other family are buried there, so there are new acquaintances to make. I haven’t visited Grandma and Grandpa Eaton’s grave for a couple of years, so that will be a nice reunion; great-grandparents Goodson are nearby, as well as a slew of aunts and uncles. A world without ancestors would be so lonely.

Of course, I always think of Mom on her death day, but I think of her Every Day. She and Dad are buried nearby and I visit their mausoleum every season – Fall, Christmas, Winter, Spring, and Fourth of July- to keep it spruced up. I think she’d like the idea of visiting the cemeteries on All Souls Day; wish she were here to go along.

The weather is supposed to be nice and the trees are particularly pretty right now. I’m going to visit with some living cousins, too, so I won’t be talking to Just Ghosts.

Where would we be without our Ancestors? Celebrate!



It’s Fall, y’all…

I’ve been down with a sore throat, head congestion, cough, and just generalized misery for three days now. Oddly, it feels like a good old-fashion cold — remember those? It might be my autumn mold allergies, but it’s been so dry here that I just don’t know. The temperatures have jumped from below freezing several days ago to a high of 81 today, so there’s that. Whatever it is, it foiled my plans to see another play today with Lana out of consideration that this crud could be contagious; we really enjoyed last week’s “Measure by Measure” at UE’s Shanklin Theatre. I do love the Bard’s comedies and that one was bawdy, as well, eliciting a lot of LOLs for us. Added plus: nobody died.

JoJo’s Academy of Music resumed after our fall break. Samantha is doing brilliantly at the piano.

The sunlight and leaves joined together with the sunrise this morning to dazzle me with Golden Light…

Even with a head full of snot, I can’t help but feel grateful for such a beautiful day today — and two more on the way! Hope the Sunshine is Splendid where you are!


WDW with the Jrs…

I know, we go to Disney World all the time, but our son and his fam only get to go every couple of years, so it’s Always more fun with them. It’s much more strenuous, as well, a good work-out for a couple of oldies such as ourselves. Michael always stays five days and each morning except the last we were up before dawn to get over to the parks for rope drop. We were extremely successful at getting on the most popular rides without lining up with the exception of Remy’s where we melted in a 75-minute queue.

Everybody was happy, enjoying themselves and sad to leave, so that’s the true sign of a Great Trip… Here’s some visuals…

Instead of being exhausted, I seem to have a lot of energy, especially in this Autumn weather. We’re bringing in all the plants I plan to over-winter, putting out the pumpkin decorations, and making room for firewood on the front porch. This afternoon Cousin Lana and I are off to see “Measure by Measure” at UE Theatre. This week I’ll catch up with my ancestry editing next to a cozy fire as the temps drop below freezing. I think I’ll try making a video of our Super Trip.

Hope you’re enjoying today where You are!

Oops! I forgot…

Yeah, it’s true – last week I forgot to blog. I’ve played the organ at Christ Church for the last two Sundays, but last week I also opened JoJo’s Academy of Music for a lesson with Samantha, usually a Saturday event, which it really threw me off and I simply forgot that it was Blog Day. Anyway, I didn’t have anything to say much…

This past week, though, I have been glued to the coverage of Hurricane Ian. My cousin lives in Cape Coral and she decided to ride it out. I watched so much of the same footage over and over – and found out later some of it wasn’t even from Ian — that I was looking out my window to see if it had arrived at my door yet. Anyway, she’s okay, and for that I’m so grateful, but I strongly disapprove of folks who don’t evacuate when they’re asked to. Many deaths could have been avoided, but Floridians seem to like toying with hurricanes. I’m thinking of the first responders who are now strained to provide relief for the ones who weren’t as lucky as my cousin — she lost a few shingles and trees, may or may not have her power back, but her house is still there.

Preachy, ain’t I? I guess I figure if someone gave me even One Day of warning that a Tornado was gonna plow through my town, I’d batten down the hatches and get to a safe place.

Disney World had to close down for a couple of days, but they are back in business and we’ll be arriving there this coming Friday. We’re accompanying Jr. and his family, so we’ll be staying five days this trip. I’m pretty excited…

It’s been absolutely beautiful Autumn weather and I hope by the time we’re home from WDW the leaves start changing colors. I’ve still got my potted plants outside and they’re blooming away… All of the gardens look like Fall now…

I’ll try to be in touch while we’re on vacay. Stay safe, friends.


Still bummed…

I hope that after tomorrow’s funeral I’ll snap out of this funk I’m in. The weather’s been beautiful, and we’ve been steadily (and for me, drearily) eating tomatoes and bell peppers, pulling up the plants as we harvest, so the Edible Garden is a mere shell of itself, but the zinnias and marigolds persist.

After a Last Hurrah of Summer later this week, the Autumnal Equinox will arrive and usher in my favorite season. I’m planning a campfire dinner for that night with lots of harvest vegetables…and hot dogs, of course.

Sorry to be so short on words this week. My obsession with the Royal Family is being fed, my feelings are being manipulated, and for now I’m here for it. I swear, though, after the Queen has been buried, I’m turning off the internets for a wee bit…


Heavy Heart

I’ve been so sad since the news of HM The Queen’s death, though many friends/family called to comfort me. The death of a 96-year-old woman is hardly shocking, but as my grand-daughter said, we felt that she was immortal. I saw it coming after Prince Philip died, but she managed to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, gifting us with three! trips to the balcony of Buckingham Palace, as well as that lovely video with Paddington. She was, to me, the epitome of a strong woman — even though she hardly had to work her way to the top or break through any glass ceiling. She held her own among World Leaders who would come and go, while she steadfastly kept her oath to serve her people until her last breath. This seismic shift under our feet must feel especially strong to the citizens of the UK, but it is truly felt around the globe.

And now my long-time crush is King Charles III. My heart goes out to him…yes, he was prepared for exactly what to do, from the funeral arrangements to what his actions should be to pull the country around him, but No One can prepare for the grief of losing your mother, no matter how old she is or you are.

I think back to 11-year-old me, writing that letter asking to be the pen-pal of then-Prince Charles, but my ulterior motive was to marry him, so I could be Queen of England. Seeing what the British Royal Family has to go through, I’m sure glad that plan failed! But the letter I received from HM The Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting made me a follower for life.

It is my Favorite Soap Opera, and especially compelling right now as we watch history unfold. But it’s a family who just lost a beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. This statement from the new Prince of Wales, William, expresses it beautifully.

There’s a lot more mourning to do in Great Britain, but I do hope American TV will stop with its 24/7 coverage until the funeral; they seem to be woefully uninformed about the British Monarchy, like they’ve learned what they know from MMarkle and took her word for it. It’s pretty disrespectful, really, and I’m tuned in to BBC, ITV, other British coverage of events.

We’re getting closer every day to our Disney Trip with the Jrs., so I have a pleasant distraction from the sadness. I’m just waiting for the funeral to have a real sob-fest…


Thunderbolt and JAM

It’s been super stormy these last few days, pummeling the dry earth with more rain than needed, covering the road and forming lakes in our front yard. But I do love a strong rain, the sound and smell, sheets of water coming down, fog rising up; the whole world looks like it’s melting while thunder booms and lightning strobes the sky. So I was out on the front porch swing basking in the wet when suddenly a bolt of lightning appeared 20 feet in front of me, right in the clearing between the trees, and simultaneously a blast of thunder seemed to shake the earth and made me jump a foot off the swing. I felt a tingle and was somewhat disoriented. I questioned what I had just seen, as the lightning hadn’t appeared (to me) to touch the ground and it didn’t look like any lightning I’d seen before. It looked more like a burst of yellow brightness, like this…

only it was going in the opposite direction and the animated effect made it seem more hallucinatory. Casey was sitting just inside in the diner, and I checked with him: Did you see that? He said yeah, he’d noticed a flash of brightness, and felt the thunderboom.

I am in Awe…I feel so honored to have witnessed such a spectacular phenomena. It was amazing.

My son had a birthday yesterday; he’s older than me now. He’s not big on parties, but his in-laws are so he had a proper fete this week-end when they celebrated all of their family September birthdays. I’ll get with him for a while tomorrow, maybe bake some cupcakes.

I signed Samantha up to start piano lessons and the particular school/teacher didn’t feel quite right. None of my children or grandchildren have been taught to play piano in the same way that I was and their method always has frustrated me, as I couldn’t make heads or tails of those Bastien courses. I was taught primarily with John Thompson’s course “Teaching Little Fingers to Play”. This is my last chance to pass this on, so I bought the book and note speller and formed JoJo’s Academy of Music (JAM) and we will begin lessons this Friday.

You see, I “read” music like a Champ, but without music in front of me, I’m pretty weak. I’ve always known that what I see on the page transmits directly to my fingers and if my hands are placed properly I can play pretty well; I found out that’s called muscle memory, taught by rote, and it was imbedded by years of playing. Whatever you call it, it has brought me such Joy, Comfort, and Peace; I would be happy if I could teach Samantha.

The JAM is inspired, isn’t it? I think I’ll have tee shirts made…maybe a tote bag…

Have a great week! Don’t miss a chance to make someone smile!


P.S. You know this song has been stuck in my mind since the Incident of the Thunderbolt…

Winding down the Summer and starting something New…

With just a little more than 3 weeks left in Summer 2022, I’ve been tidying up the Edible Garden, pulling down the dead or dying or done plants (cucumbers, yellow squash, basil) and babying the oncoming second crop of tomatoes, bell peppers, and – Yay! canteloupe and watermelon.

The Peace/Bird Garden is rockin’ with birds – hummers kamikazi-ing through, cardinals and sparrows sharing the feeder, and finches plucking the coneflowers, voraciously eating the seed-heads, having already reduced the black-eyed Susans to little more than skeletons. I’m cutting the Susans back as soon as the birds are done and they have to be divided, so I’m dreaming up a new arrangement for next year.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a message from my fb friend, Bob Walker, a UCC minister. He knew that I had been a church organist in one of my past lives and asked if I’d be interested in subbing at his church. I visited Christ UCC last Sunday, met their organist and it looks like she’ll be happy to have a reliable sub to call in when she needs a break. The services are still traditional and that’s just what I’m looking for! The church is a small one and reminds me of Concordia Lutheran-Missouri Synod when I started working there back in 1987. Anyway, I had figured I was done with the church-music work after 2011, and I was as far as the Lutherans were concerned. (okayokay, Redeemer did try to seduce me back, but Concordia Not) I did do some subbing, and UCC churches were the only ones who called me! Since Casey’s retirement, I haven’t been available much, so it’s been 3-4 years since I played for a church. I’m pretty excited about it. I got up in the attic and brought down my old music, marked up with the dates and services for which they were played, and felt like I was opening an old diary. I’m so excited to play all those sweet tunes again, and very grateful for muscle memory.

On a somber note, Wink is just going downhill every day, drooling, incontinent, sleeping, although he eats well and does not seem uncomfortable. At 18 — 88 in cat-years — he could hang on for a while, but he worries me a lot. We’ll be gone for ten days in early October, down to Disney World with Jr’s family. Usually Michael takes care of Wink – and Wink dearly loves him — but he’ll be with us. I just need someone to come over and feed him his wet food, (we leave out a ton of dry food), make sure he’s got enough water, etc. talk to him if he feels like it, and just check on him… We’ll have to see how the next five weeks go, but if you could help, let me know, thanks.

Have a Great Week! Don’t miss a chance to make someone smile!


Late Report

It’s been a busy week here at Sonnystone Acres… If that sounds familiar, you may have been a fan of Prairie Home Companion and Garrison Keillor’s stories from Lake Wobegone. Since we began our week celebrating our 42nd Wedding Anniversary, I thought I’d share this blast from the blog-past from 2010, the year we went up to Conner Prairie Amphitheatre and enjoyed a lovely performance of Keillor’s “Summer of Love Tour”.

(Again, I apologize for the no-caps thing, I was just too lazy back then and I’m still too lazy now to go in and capitalize correctly…it was a phase I was going through, forgive me.)

a lovely 30th anniversary

we didn’t get in any hurry to sit in the sun before the concert sunday evening up at conner prairie.  other folks were staking out the down-front seats, but we stopped over at a local brewery, drank a bighorn blonde and ate a hamburger, took the leftovers with us as a picnic lunch.  we were rewarded for our nonchalance by snagging a picnic area directly in the middle top—no sweaty bodies close by and the bathrooms were close, too.  and we enjoyed the show so much, listened to the news from lake wobegon and caught up with guy noir, sang tons of love songs and took some fun pictures. 

fred newman, the sound effects guy and mr. keillor

Garrison Keillor is one of my idols, a writer/storyteller who does talk a little slowly, it’s true, but who creates characters who you feel you know, or are.  he and sara watkins, fiddle player singer, walked about the audience for about half the show, him making up lyrics to songs as he walked based on what he was seeing the folks do.  i’m proud to say that he included me in one of them, singing of “the lady with the pink shirt strolling down the aisle to take pictures”.  

garrison keillor and sara watkins

it was, after all the Summer Love Tour, and during the drive home the medley of  “can’t help falling in love with you/unchained melody” was stuck in my head—happily.   i’m ready for another 30 years…..

We didn’t go anywhere this year, but we did build a campfire and roasted some dawgs and mellows and agreed completely that we are about as happy as an old married couple can be. I wrote about it this way nine years ago when we celebrated Anniversary #33:

It was 33 years ago today that Casey and I took our vows.  They were the traditional “have and hold, for richer and poorer, in sickness and health, as long as we live” stuff.  As Melissa and I walked down the aisle, I couldn’t have even imagined 33 years…

There are very few pictures of the event…the “photographer” was a friend who borrowed her brother’s fancy 35mm camera and loaded the first roll of film wrong.  I thought she was kidding when she told me the next week…but she wasn’t.

I remember it clearly and dearly:  it was so hot and humid that I couldn’t stand outside for more than 5 minutes without sweating through my dress.  We didn’t have air-conditioning in our house, so I went over to church early to cool off.  It was only family and some of our very best friends.   Donna had a nice reception for us afterward at her house.   Sadly, it seems like most of the people who were there are now dead…

And the last 33 years?  Well, it’s not been exactly fairy-tale sweetness, but we’ve laughed more than we’ve cried.   As we’ve shared our everyday lives, growing up and growing old, we have become Us…and I really like Us.

The News from Sonnystone Acres, August 15, 2013

Hope your week is a good one! Don’t miss a chance to make someone smile!