Sunday, November 30, 2008

Life After NaBloPoMo

Participating in the NaBloPoMo challenge has been lots of fun and Geezerguy and I congratulate everyone who succeeded in the task. Maybe one of us will even win one of the prizes. Truthfully, I think the prize has already come my way in the form of new friends who have been commenting and emailing me about what I’ve written. I hope we can stay connected.

I also hope that Sage Words, who did such a great job of posting up until the eve of closure, can come up with an excuse that will make him win the World’s Biggest Loser Prize!

Big Jim and I debated joining in the December blog roll but since we’ll be traveling during part of the month there’s a good chance we wouldn’t be able to post on some days after Christmas.…we know-certain geeks among us have the capability of literally phoning it in. We don’t.

But here’s what we came up with. It’s timely, creative, and sort of self serving. Geezerguy is about to begin studies in the field of Kringledom. He is hoping to join the ranks of bearded gentlemen who enchant children everywhere. Yarntangler will go along as The Missus.

We are hoping to eventually ease this endeavor into a slightly different format and take the Christmas message to children as an old world St. Nicholas or Father Christmas character. As we prepare for this new adventure next winter, we are looking for holiday stories these seasoned storytellers can use. It would be wonderful to be able to adapt tales of Christmas as remembered by our friends and family into our repertoire.

So we are issuing a request to those whose blogs we have been following and those who have been our handful of faithful readers to tell us your Christmas stories. Do this on your blog or simply email us if you aren’t a blogger. Please give us permission to use or adapt your tale for kids we see down the road. Naturally, we’ll give you the credit whenever we tell it.

Oh! Talk about getting into the spirit! As I sit here trying to decide how to end this experience on a happy note and lead into December, I just looked out the window. It’s starting to snow! The picture on the right is not of us. So far in our 4 1/2 years of fulltiming we've never had quite that much snow, but then we've never been in a Kansas snowstorm either. We'll talk about snow, and shovels, and winter and hot cider and Christmas memories as we get into December. I hope you'll stay with me.

Onward to Christmas!!!

See ya down the road,

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Living in the Past

With everything that has been happening lately in the world, it is tempting sometimes to wish we could go back to the Good Old Days. A time without I-pods, and cell phones, and Wiis, and 52 inch flat screen HD plasma TVs, and even blogs! There was a time when writing meant using a pen and paper and entrusting our mail to the pony express. Black Friday meant run for the storm shelter and the only time a bank needed a bail out was after the river rose too high. We could tell the good guys from the bad guys because the bandits wore bandannas over their faces.

Big Jim and I climbed out of our Winnebago time machine last May and found our selves in a South Dakota town stuck in 1880 . Oddly enough, it was called 1880 Town and we spent the entire summer there.

I worked in the barn most of the time but it was amazing how many people went through there on the way into town. I met people from almost every country in Europe as well as many visitors from Asian and African countries. Someone from every state in the Union purchased a ticket as well as every Canadian province. I enjoyed watching families enter, dragging a reluctant child or teen with them who were certain this would be a boring stop on the way to Mt.Rushmore. An hour or so later they had to drag them away to continue their journies. These children of the electronic age had suddenly experienced the world of imagination. They had gone to the costume shop and dressed in period clothing. Even the adults got a kick out of playing dress-up.

They visited the animals, wandered around the town, and even helped the sheriff capture bank robbers.

The Sheriff? That was Big Jim.He kept us all safe and never lacked for deputies when the children arrived. In that time of common sense, good values went a long way. Even the most famous bandits sometimes were rehabilitated and changed their ways.

But there was very little crime in 1880 Town so Big Jim took a second job. He was also one of the two saloon keepers, serving sarsaparilla to one and all. In 1880 this was perfectly acceptable. Now I think they call it conflict of interest.

The people who inhabited 1880 town were hard workers, creative spirits, and fun loving folks. Several lived nearby in the modern world and passed through the doorway into the past each morning. Scott was the resident artist responsible for much of the magic that had restored the town to it's authentic appearance. Jodie, the best darned cook in the Dakotas, was also a rodeo rider of wide fame. Joy , Mary ,and Lois kept everyone happily playing dress-up . Grace Trish and Kayla entertained in the saloon and also helped "tend bar".

Linda and Eddie kept the gas station running. Most wore more than one hat. Sassy Sonia, the second bar keep, was also a reporter in the modern world. She always seemed to know which hombres to interview.

Everyone worked hard but had great fun doing it. Each had an important job to oversee. One fellow we were delighted to meet was Don. Don has been at 1880 Town for 20 years. He comes every year from Nevada. He has no assigned position anymore. He simply is the guy we called whenever we needed help in any department. He hangs out in the station or at the diner. He occasionally drives a disabled person around town on a short tour. But like each of us he did have one particular responsibility.

Don was in charge of checking the swing.

Margie spent an entire summer cleaning every item on view. She polished jewelry and even vacuumed a long horn steer. Tom was the fix it guy. Extremely camera shy, there were not too many things he wouldn't attempt to fix. His wife Alberta, made sure we all got paid on time. Jake and Dotty, and James and Shirley were old hands who had been coming to 1880 town for years. We were certainly glad they were there to help all of us newbies learn the ropes.

Jerry and Peach were new Workampers like us. Jerry actually wore three hats. He worked in the station, led us in prayer and helped us keep focused, and even led a band of jolly bank robbers as the Laughing Bandit.

Peggy and Jerry, who were also new this summer, worked in the 1950s in the train diner with young, Joya and Gabe (who caused a commotion when he suddenly was transformed from the tall blond young man we all got to know into a dark haired teen overnight). Peggy kept everyone informed with the incredible amount of information she gleaned about the town, the train, and the entire area. Now, I don't want to single anyone out but you have to give a hand to a gal who went out of her way to pull more than her own weight.
We had a wonderful summer at 1880 town, thanks in part to all of these people . But we couldn't have made our trip back in time without Richard and Clarence and their ladies Anne Marie and Earline. Their vision is what made the town come alive . Their amazing antique collections are what they offer to people searching for a respite from the overwhelming technology that sometimes makes us long for a simpler time.

See ya down the road,

Friday, November 28, 2008

Do You Keep a Diary?

I'm so proud of Geezerguy, Sage Words, and myself. Despite some crazy schedules, especially for my witty son, who's bosses in the USAF are not terribly sympathetic to the needs of a 30 day blog challengee, we've almost suceeded in the NaBloPoMo Challenge. Okay, so not all of our offerings have been on a par with John Steinbeck, or Douglas Adams, or Erma Bombeck, but we have done it (knock on wood). It 's made us each feel good about ourselves and has contributed a sense of order.

I can't speak for the two guys but I have gained from the experience. I've learned to put an idea down quickly(before I forget it) and meet my deadlines. I can manage the pictures - finally, and I've learned a few techie (on my level) tricks like linking and layout. Eventually, Ramblings will look and read better than it did on September 30th! The best part is discovering that several other RVers blog too. I've made some new friends on line that we may actually see down the road in a park or workplace.

Two family members Hilly and Loneduck have taken up the gauntlet and are now producing their own blogs. Rumor has it there are a couple more who have gotten as far as creating blog spots though they haven't actually published yet. Since one of them is my Dad I sure hope he gets started soon. He's got a lot of wonderful memories to fuel to a nostalgic old newspaper man’s site.

Why are we doing this? Maybe because most of us wish that we'd started a diary or journal when we were young. Dad did; he has about 50 years of his own diaries to call upon for ideas and details. And if he still can't think of anything he also has his mother's diaries too! He kept buying them for me every year when I was a girl and I’d dutifully begin on January 1st.

By January 31st, I’d probably only missed 14 days and by March 10th I’d lost it completely. I tried several times over the years to keep a journal but they never lasted. Ironically ,the only one of my younger family to keep one is Buttercup, and she doesn’t have any desire to blog!

What about you, dear reader? Do you keep a diary or a journal? Do you wish, like I do that you’d done so? Is blogging the new diary? What do you think?

See ya down the road,

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Greetings

To my husband,
To my father,and his lady,
To my four sons and their ladies,
To all the young adults who call me Grandma and their ladies and gents,
To my sister and her gent,
To my brothers and their ladies,
To my nieces and nephews
To my aunts and my cousins,
To my friends both near and far,
To fellow Workampers on the road... somewhere,
To two young soldiers, Tim and Arnel,
spending their Thanksgiving in Baghdad,

Thank you, for everything you have done to help me be me.
Thank you, for letting me know you, and learn from you, and love you.

Thank you, God, for giving me these people; the biggest blessings in my life.

See ya down the road,
Marcie Hoye Cumberland

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Several people have asked me why I didn’t have a picture in my profile. Well, the truth is there are very few pictures of me that I like. While I’m not actually vain, I never like the way my hair looks, or the fact that all of my inherited chins show, or the way the camera adds not 10 but 40 lbs and all around my middle! I’m actually quite tall, and willowy in person.

(- oh alright- Scrabblebuff, maybe I’m not willowy! I look more like a well shaped Christmas tree on legs. But I‘m taller than you, and taller than Mom, and I‘m taller than everyone of my daughters-in-law! That's not bad for 5' 3 1/4".)

But I have learned a few tricks for those occasions when I can’t get out of having my picture taken. My favorite is to find some object that puts me in perspective so I don’t appear quite so…Reubenesque if you know what I mean.

For instance:

This chair is located in
Mt. View, Arkansas.Italic

Supersized animals help too.
I found this one at Natural Bridges Cavern in Texas.

A jackalope is certainly bigger than me!

If your companion catches the viewer’s eye, that works wonders.

Hanging around with monumental figures can’t help but improve things.

And when the idea is something you are proud of, you can’t go wrong.

See ya down the road,

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Anybody Hungry?

I ate too much! We stopped at the Golden Corral for dinner and as usual there were too many choices. I tried really hard to behave. I did not over load my plate with shrimp, brussel sprouts, corn and noodles the first time down the line. Nor did I take more than a small piece of pot roast and a spoonful of mushrooms the second trip.

Nope, I was doing fine until I made the mistake of checking out the dessert
Cart. Did I say the dessert cart? There are there of them one and one is devoted to chocolate!

Golden Corral is one of the places we’ve come to enjoy since we got on the road. Cracker Barrel, which also has plenty of space in their parking lots for a motor home, is another. Every time we go there I buy a jar of fried apples or corn relish to enjoy a month or so down the road.

Jim likes the peanuts at Logan’s Roadhouse. Fresh roasted and served in a bucket on the table. You are expected to throw the shells on the floor. My boys would have loved that when they were kids!

Pannera Bread is the perfect place to go for hearty soup and sandwiches. Of course, getting out of there without a loaf of bread and a bag full of muffins takes true fortitude.

There are so many places to go that are reasonably priced and satisfying along the road. It’s also nice to know what to expect when you go in there.

On the other hand some of the best food we’ve had won’t be duplicated anywhere. We make a point to stop at small town cafes, especially for breakfast when we travel between Workamping jobs. Breakfast is an inexpensive meal to eat out and if you find a place where the workmen or farmers are all congregated you know you won’t leave still hungry.

Jim also likes to stop for a piece of pie at mid afternoon if we see just the right sort of place.

We had Jalapeno Apple Pie at the Pie Town Cafe in NW New Mexico; it was unbelievably good. Who could have expected that?

We’ll be heading out of here in December and crossing the Texas Panhandle down to South eastern New Mexico then across to Tucson. I wonder what we’ll have for lunch?

See ya down the road,

Monday, November 24, 2008

Original Ideas

I tend to write a lot about nostalgic things. Often I write about my family and sometimes about my travels. Today I decided to blog about something original. Yes, today I’d challenge myself to scribe something that did not involve my parents, my husband, my kids, or anyplace I’ve been.

After thinking about it for awhile I decided in a moment of whimsy to write about peanut butter. Peanut butter, that all American staple that we all either love or hate, or love but hate, or love to hate.
Peanut butter,the friend of mothers everywhere because its so kid friendly.

So I Googled peanut butter to see what trivia I could come up with. What I came up with was that, as of 9 PM Central Standard Time, 1,888,000 blogs have referenced peanut butter.

Okay maybe not so original an idea after all. I looked
around for another idea. Ha! How about safety pins?
I typed in ‘blogs about safety pins”.


Pickles 847,000

Coffee 28,360,000

Beards 2,530,000

Suspenders 852,000

Uh… I guess each of these ideas should have one more blog added to the tally. Maybe tomorrow I’ll come up with something original. There must be something no one has written about before......Or maybe I’ll write about something nostalgic, or my family, or someplace I’ve been.

I’m going to make a hot drink and go to bed.

Hot chocolate 1,230,000

See ya down the road,

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Breaking Curfew

My parents were pretty trusting of me and the boys I dated when I was a teen. I was never given a precise curfew. It was simply a given that we'd be home about an hour after the basketball game, or the dance, or the movie. That would give us time to go to Friendly's for ice cream or to Pittsfield with the rest of the gang for burgers at McDonald's.

While in high school, I really had no problem with this understanding. After all, there was the ever unanswered question, "What can you do after midnight that you can't do before?" I'm glad to say that I never figured that one out and they never had any real cause to worry about me. I didn't smoke, drink or...

When I went to college, I still lived at home. By then my friends, my dates, and I, had developed interests that meant traveling a bit farther down the road. We'd go to Greenfield to go dancing, or to Tanglewood to hear the Boston Pops. Mom and Dad still trusted me and I still had no curfew. I was asked however to call if we were going to be late.

Uh... there I wasn't always the perfect daughter. When you are twenty something and having a great time with a terrific date do you really want to have to go call Mommy? It's not like you could carry a phone in your purse of something.

So I'd get home later than the folks thought reasonable. And there, sitting in the living room, at three in the morning, was Mom. As I walked into the house she'd quietly close her book, get up from her chair, say good night, and start up the stairs, leaving me to turn off the lights. But when I'd begin to climb the stairs, there she would be at the top, and there she would give me...



Somehow I managed to survive both The LOOK and my young adult years. I married my college sweetheart , helped him raise a family, and developed a reasonable Look of my own to cast upon my sons. Eventually we left the Muggle world (Harry Potter reference) and set forth into the magical world of the Blue Highways accompanied by Clancy, the Gourmet Wiener Dog.

Clancy usually knows what to expect from me. She knows I will feed her, and I will, take the darned sweater off her when we get inside. She trusts that if we commit the unforgivable offense of forgetting to take her with us in the Jeep we will come back before dark...most of the time.

Tonight we went out for pizza with about forty of our closest Workamper friends . We had a really great time -a really long great time.

And tonight when we drove in I saw something I haven't seen in 40+ years.
I saw:

(hangs head in shame)

See ya down the road,

Saturday, November 22, 2008

1 Minute Blogette

Remember dear old Dad? I suppose I should have mentioned that he spent half a century being a newspaperman, much of it as an editor. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on one's point of view, he's never ceased being an editor.

So in true news fashion this writer stands corrected. The guy with the store -53 years ago in Taunton, MA- was Charlie Goldstein not Max. I thought I was doing pretty good considering in my day we called grownups Mr. or Mrs.
Chalk it up to a senior moment.

Wait a minute...he's 25 years my senior!!!

See ya down the road,

Maybe I Was a Gypsy

You know how so many RVers say they must have been Gypsies in a former life? I believe it. From my earliest days, I’ve had my eyes out the window and have loved to go new places.

I remember being in a big black car once and getting to lay on the back deck so I could watch out the window. Kids can’t do that anymore and that’s probably a good idea but it sure was fun. I could wave at the car behind us or count the stars at night.

Later we had the first of a series of station wagons and I got to sit in the “wayback”. .There was even a day when we rode very slowly down the highway with donkeys following us munching on carrots we held out the window.

I drove the folks nuts singing see the USA in your Chevrolet or The Happy Wanderer whenever we went out. If there was a road song I heard I commited it to memory, ( and I can still sing them today.)

It really never has mattered to me where we went. It was just important that on Sunday afternoon, we went. Mom and Dad helped us to appreciate the world outside our doors. We went to historic places and scenic places and beautiful garden. We lived close enough to the Atlantic coast to be able to go to the beach several times each summer.

When I began dating Big Jim, we were short on cash. College students usually are. Often we’d pack a picnic and take off for a ride. When he asked where I wanted to go I usually told him “take me down a road I’ve never been on before.” I still say the same thing. The day we left on our honeymoon, Big Jim and I missed a turn. We decided not to turn around because there would be something even better in the direction we were headed.

Our favorite form of entertainment has always been “going for a ride“. We brought our kids up the same way we were raised, to know that there’s something worth seeing around almost every bend. To discover what’s down “that way” is always enticing. For the most part that’s always been the way we plan our routes. As long as we get where we need to be by the time we are supposed to be there, we have no fixed plan. We’ve discovered some wonderful places by straying from the path and following the sign that catches our eyes.

Since we began Rving, we’ve met plenty of people who feel pretty much the same way about seeing the country we’ve been blessed to live in. And of course there are many more we’ve yet to meet. For instance there are the Doobie Brothers, who sang:

I need another point of view
Someplace I've never seen
Keepin' my eyes wide open
Goin' where I've never been
So take me to the highway
Take me far from here.

One of these days we might run into them.

See ya down the road,

Friday, November 21, 2008

Grandad Delivered

My Grandad, Joe Hoye, was the superintendent of mails in Taunton, Massachusetts when I was a little girl. I got to spend a couple of weeks with Nana and Grandad each summer and I learned his routine. He would go off to work in the morning and then come home at noon for his dinner. Nana would have a nice hot meal ready and he'd sit down to watch his programs. Grandad was a fan of As the World Turns and Search for Tomorrow.

Once in awhile, Grandad would be a few minutes late and he'd explain that he'd had a letter for Aunt Hattie that had come in after the mail went out for the day. Then there was a package for Max Goldstein and he probably needed it right away, at the store, so Grandad had delivered it on his way home. Sometimes he'd tell me that it took a few minutes extra to find a person addressed simply at:

Mrs. Teatrault
Near the house with the big piazza on Smith Street

Those were the days when stamps cost 3 cents, when mail was delivered at least twice a day, when the post office could actually manage to deliver a package to the right house even if the address was the one next door, and when the mail man was everybody's friend.

I wish my Grandad was still around. I truly thought he could do anything. Hey! He packed a wallop when he put his mind into it. Heck! he even took on the TV station in Boston that fed him his daily soap and told them off. See, he was extremely offended when they began airing commercials for girdles and brassieres during his dinner hour. He let them know that he and the other respectable gentlemen of Taunton would not watch the station nor would they shop with their sponsors. The station took the commercials off the air! (Good thing Grandad can't see what they advertise now. He'd have a conniption fit if he saw Happy Bob!)

I would love to sit and talk with him but I also believe the world needs him. In my little girl faith in him, I know he could straighten out the problems the "modern" Post Office seems to create with each postage raise. I think he'd really be upset if I could tell him what happened today.

This historic presidential election campaign was the first that I have really followed closely. I was totally wrapped up in the entire thing. Then the complications began to set in when we were getting registered and awaiting our absentee ballots. We had one delay after another, but they finally arrived. Big Jim and I stood there in the post office, filled out the ballots, and put them in the return mail-six days before the election. Cutting it close but with a couple of days to spare.

Today I got a letter telling me my vote had been rejected because it did not arrive in time! I was really disappointed. But then I realized Big Jim had not gotten any such letter.

Now I'm mad and I'll bet Grandad is too.

See ya down the road,

Thursday, November 20, 2008

FABIAN -Oh What An Update!

If you are new to Ramblings, you may have missed the very first two entries. I began this trip down memory lane with a true story I’ve enjoyed telling since I was 12 years old and had my first mad crush on a celebrity. I refer you to my connection with The Fabulous FABIAN. I shan't rewrite the entire story here. Please refresh your memory or read the first chapter of this saga by scrolling back to the beginning and reading the first two entries. I’ll wait and hum

…turn me loose…turn me loose…

Oh good, you are back. Did you enjoy the image of the little girl, totally star struck but savvy enough to make a few dollars in a unique way? I’m glad, because here comes the payoff.

One night last summer, I stood in the presence of FABIAN! Yes! FABIAN, the Teen Idol who first awakened the faintest stirrings of womanhood in me back in my pre-pubescent days.

FABIAN, with the smoldering eyes that could gaze from an album cover and somehow convince you he could really see you. FABIAN, with the lips that made even the girls who so far had no interest in boys, wish he was around to play spin the bottle. FABIAN, who had to mow his mom’s grass before he could go meet up with his pals, Frankie and Bobby and Dion.

I met HIM! I talked to HIM! I touched HIS hand! HE touched my hand! I even had my picture taken with HIM!

We were working in Berryville, Arkansas, at Cosmic Cavern for the summer. Big Jim (who also has fabulous eyes that keep no secrets), took me to Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater in Branson, MO, to see the singer, who at the ripe old age of 15, proclaimed to 12 year old teenyboppers everywhere that “I’m A Man” and we bought it!

Performing with Bobby Vee, Brian Hyland, the Chiffons, and Chris Montes, in a fun packed show, he sang all the hits. He even did the twist with a chorus line of Red Hat Ladies, and other former giggling girls, now mostly jiggling grannies who joined him from the audience.

I kept forgetting I was beginning to experience my 6th decade. I kept remembering girlfriends I haven’t seen in 50 years and I looked back with total pleasure on those long ago days in Levittown, Pennsylvania. I could see us all there watching Bandstand in black and white and strolling across the living room tile in our white socks. I astonished myself as I sang along, by knowing the words to songs I’d totally forgotten about. FABIAN helped me to remember so many things and I had a wonderful time.

Now those of you who know me, know I was a somewhat conservative person who never swooned over the Beatles or screamed at Elvis, but I did something crazy last night. I gave HIM a card with my address on it!

Hey! Wait, It’s not what you think! That’s not what I meant! It was my blog address. Hopefully, when he got a few minutes he read the true story of our 48 year old connection right here with the rest of you. He said he would. I only asked one favor of my particular Teen Idol; if it turned out that my friend was conning me all those years ago and it wasn’t his grass I asked that he not tell me.

…what was he like? Charming, friendly, funny, handsome, eligible for Social Security… the only noticeable difference was his hair, no more pompadour!
Don’t be silly, I certainly didn’t notice anything else, after all he’s only 4 years older than me.


See ya down the road,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Debris Happens

What you need to understand is that Geezerguy and I do not see each other's blogs before they are posted. But if you've been married forty years, I guess you end up thinking alike more often than you realize.

We've both done blogs with similar themes before for holidays and special occasions. That's to be expected. Finding that we both chose Monday to do bad day blogs was just plain funny since it really wasn't about the same day.

We all have bad days and my Mom used to tell me to just get through them because they make the next day even better.

I normally do not make a point of talking about other people's bad days but tonight I can't help it. I have had plenty of things go awry in my life, I've missed opportunities, missed great sales, broken things, and lost things. But I have never managed to mess things up on a scale this grand.

Today a highly intelligent, meticulously trained, painstakingly careful young woman had a really bad day that was out of this world.

Heidi Stefanyshyn-Piper was trying to effect a repair outside her current place of residence. She had a lubricating tool leak all through her tool bag. I'm sure she had some choice words to say as she had to clean up the oozing goo. But she had even more to say when she dropped her $100,000 tool bag. Heidi was working outside the Space Station Endeavor.

As my step mom would say, "Some days if it wasn't for bad luck, we'd have no luck at all."

See ya down the road,

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

He's My Daddy!

One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my Daddy's shoulders, on the sidewalk of 483 Bay Street, in Taunton, Massachusetts watching a parade. After the Boy Scouts , a group of Army men marched proudly, followed by a convertable carrying a bald man with a huge grin. All the men on the side walk began cheering and throwing their hats in the air. Mommy said it was Ike- Daddy's General.

I didn't know what that meant but at the very moment the car stopped, waiting for those in front to round a curve. Mr. Ike looked over at us and Daddy saluted him. I didn't know what that was all about either but I copied Daddy and saluted the General too, as only a three year old could. Mr. Ike looked right back at my father and waved to him.

(In an odd twist of fate, ten or so years later, while we lived in Levittown, PA, Dad was holding my little sister on his shoulders when another friend of his came to town. Years before, he and Mom had known this man in Massachusetts. Again, a man with a big smile waved at my Dad and then he gave Scrabblebuff a bouquet of flowers that had been presented to him. Shortly after, Jack Kennedy became our President. )

Dad had served during WWII and was proud of his service. He wasn't one to talk about it like some of my friends' fathers. Some never tired of telling us how brave they were and ab
out the thrilling times they had overseas. Dad just told us about going to Lourdes and Fatima and about how nice the ladies were who put on canteens for the G.I.s.

I never really heard him talk about the horrors of war, until my brothers served in Vietnam and in the Mediterranean. As we sat there watching the newscasts on TV, he would strain to catch a possible glimpse of Denis or Terry but he never did. I know he cried when word came to us that Denis had been wounded. When we found out several days later that he'd actually broken his thumb,
he c
ried again.

For several years, Dad quietly honored his sons, and the men and women who had served with them in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, by taking part in the American Legion.

A couple of years ago, a g
roup of young men and women returned home to his small town in New Mexico. Dad and one other WWII Veteran marched in the celebration parade to welcome them back from Iraq.

That's Dad, wearing his back brace under the jacket, paying honor to his fellow soldiers.

And that's also Dad, on my son's bike last May, just before the wedding. He d
ecided that, although it had been only 60 years since he'd ridden a bike, and despite how cool it might be to do it again, he'd take a pass.

I have always been proud of my Daddy.

See ya down the road,
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Some days Are Diamonds; Somedays... are... Not!

I always get a big kick out of people who think because we live in a Winnebago, we are retired and on a perpetual vacation. We worked at a show cave in California one time and lived on the property. The young high school and community college student guides thought that was really cool. But as we packed up to go to an RV rally for five days, (our first time off in almost eleven months) the young guides were astounded. “Why do you need to go on a vacation? You live on a vacation!”

I asked them what part of working 40 hours a week they considered a vacation? Ironically, if you didn’t count the “homework” demanded of an elementary teacher, I had never worked a 40 hour week in my life until everyone thought we had retired!

Granted, some of our Workamping jobs are less physically demanding than others but 40 hours is still 40 hours! Right now I am not working “outside of the home” But Big Jim is working 5 ten hour days a week. And he’s doing it on the night shift from 5PM til 3:30. He is on his feet the entire time picking packing or loading packages. Within the next couple of weeks he’ll either go to eleven hours/night or six days /week - or both. I expect to see him upright for long enough to hand him his lunch and get a kiss as he walks out the door.

So we both really appreciate his days off. Technically, there are two but for the first one he needs to sleep until noon or later. The next day, Monday, is what we get to do errands, shop or have fun.

Today was one of those have fun and do a few errands days. The plan was to get up early and go to Bartlesville, OK, about an hour away and hit a couple of thrift shops (my fun time but with a purpose as I’m working on a project and need supplies best bought in resale shops). Then we would go to a movie, (Jim’s fun time). We’d finish up by hitting the Super Wal Mart to stock up on a few items to ensure our snug as a bugness for the coming cold season. I also had about $100.00 worth of prescriptions to have refilled. Finally, we’d overeat at The Golden coral before coming home.

Last night we ran out of propane. Okay, so we’ll leave a little later. This morning, we got all set to go, called to make sure there was a certified dispenser person there at the propane place and guess what- He’ll be back about noon. So much for the morning.

By the time we got to Bartlesville, it was after 3:00 PM . We were starving, so stopped for a quick bite at MC Donald’s, No time for any thrift shops, and neither wanted to wait until after 6:00 for a movie to start. We went to Wal Mart and did not overspend for a change. As we approached the check out, my bum hip quit on me so Jim sent me to sit down while he checked out. Too late I remembered I’d placed an obvious Jim’s Stocking stuffer in the basket for him. Had the name James on it and everything. Oh well, there is another James down the road. ( and no he’s not a son!) So - do we get to go to the buffet? No, burgers and fries at 3:30 makes supper at 6:00 a non issue.

So we got the stuff in the car and came home to my Aleve and heating pad. That’s when we realized we had forgotten to go back to the pharmacy to pick up my meds!

Guess where Jim has to go tomorrow before he goes to work?

See ya down the road,


Sunday, November 16, 2008

One is Silver,the Other Gold

Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
and the other gold.
(one of the first songs a Brownie Scout learns to sing at ceremonies)

One of the best things about our life in the slow lane, is that while we travel around the country we make so many new friends. RVers come and go from each others lives very quickly. We meet them by the pool, or by the dump station, or more often in the laundromat and chat. Its not necessary for us to learn everything there is to know about these fellow vagabonds. All we ask is, "So where are you from?"or " Where are you headed." or ""Have you been to (insert any national landmark )yet?"

Then follows an invitation to sit and chat or share a beverage. Maybe we'll go out to lunch together or maybe not. We tell each other at least three times "Sorry, I'm terrible with names." We exchange cards with our email addresses or blogs on them and if we are smart we scribble notes like, "Met at 1880 Town- talked about pancakes." on the back, so we have some idea later who these people are.

And then within hours or occasionally a couple of days we wish each other "safe travels" and we go our separate ways. Within moments of driving off, one spouse in each RV will turn to the other and say what was his/her name?

Usually, we'll never see or hear from them again until one day when we pull off to take a picture and see another couple doing the same . We'll smile and then all of a sudden "Hey! aren't you the folks we met in South Dakota?" If we are even more lucky we stop and Workamp with some of these good folks for a few months and we get to share even more adventures with them.

We've met some great new friends that way and everyone of them is Silver. There's Brenda, and Connie, and Terry, Miss Terry and Nick, Jaimie and George, Letha and Jerry, And Jerry and Peggy, and Chris, and Bobbie and soooo many Jims and Bobs, and Jake and Dotty, John and Judy, and Kanda and a whole bunch of Lindas. The list is endless.

I'm so thrilled to have made so many friends but let this post be a wave to some others friends that we have carried in our hearts for most of our lives even if we haven't seen them in deacdes. I keep hoping that someday we'll pull into a park and end up next to some of the golden ones too.

Sue Winerip, Gail Hughes, Rita Evon, Patty Patton, Donna Goetz, Beanie Bean, Ray Bass, Bob Cooper, Bob and Tom Lefebvre, Peggy Roy, Marybeth Gradziel, Bruce Dumachel... Again the list is endless but I'm willing to bet at least a few of them are out there on the back road, just around the bend.

See ya down the road,

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tangled Yarn

My Mom was an knitter. She made us all endless sweaters that we wore until they literally came undone. I loved everyone one of those sweaters and so did my kids.

She made one for my eldest son that I really didn’t like but he adored. It was a variegated yarn in shades of school bus yellow, green, orange and shadings of each in between. I didn’t know until after she had it finished that she had taken him to the yarn shop and let him pick out the yarn himself. She said she laughed all the time she was making it as she was pretty sure of my reaction.

Loneduck wore that thing until it was much too small. He refused to pass it down to his never ending supply of brothers but put it on his teddy bear instead and slept with it. It was the first of the annual sweaters she made the boys and she always let them pick the colors.

Mom began knitting as a girl and like most teens and young women her age, perfected her skills during WWII, knitting socks and scarves for servicemen and to include in Bundles for Britain. My dad says she never made him socks when he was overseas but they weren’t married yet. ( Later he benefited with hand made sweaters too.)

I never did learn to knit although I kept trying. Mom finally taught me to crochet while we were waiting for two of my kids to get over the flu so we could return to our home in Texas from her house in Massachusetts.

We moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming two weeks before Christmas in 1979 and the kids were freezing. Big Jim’s Aunt Ted sent a Christmas package of 9 mittens, all exactly the same color and size, to the boys that year. Each boy got a pair and a spare “Because mittens are made to be lost” she said.

Me? I was making stocking caps. And as fast as I could make them they lost them; I thought. I was fairly upset by this as we didn’t have a lot of money for clothes or yarn. Then I got a call from the school nurse. She told me that Loneduck, Jugglesorcerer, and Sage Words were giving their hats away! Not because they didn’t like them; because they met kids who didn’t have a hat. They told her they figured that, even if I got mad, I‘d just make them another one.

Okay Moms, you’ve all been there. How do you scold a child for being so generous? They had to walk just under two miles to get home from school without hats. The upshot was that the nurse had talked to a few of the teachers and they had gathered some extra yarn and they sent it home with the kids so I could make them new caps. There was extra so I made a few caps for the nurse’s office. My youngest, who wasn’t in school when this began, is now 30 but I still make hats each year and donate them to shelters and other charity outlets.

If you live in an RV as I do, I’ll bet you do some handwork as you travel the long stretches. This is the time when kids (and their moms and dads) from poor families, or living in emergency shelters, need those hats, mittens, and scarves. Elders, vets, and recovering service people, need warm lap robes, stump covers, and shawls. The homeless are cold and can use blankets as well as sweaters and hats to keep out the elements.

I came across an interesting site for giving today. The National World War II Museum publishes a 1940s inspired pattern for scarves each year., in both a knitted and crocheted version. They collect them and send them to Veterans Hospitals and homes all over the country. You can get the patterns here and either send them to their address or drop them off at the nearest VA hospital.

If you are not into scarves this year, then try any of the organizations listed at this site that accept and disperse everything from baby blankets to cancer caps. But keep in mind that you do not have to donate through a group. Nor do you have to do things in quantity. It only takes one stocking cap to make one child warm.

And now you know why I got my name.

Oh, did you like that picture? Look at this site for an interesting article.

See ya down the road,

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Stuff

We've been having problems staying connected for the past few days during evening hours. I expect there are simply too many people trying to use the service at the same time but that does not make it any less frustrating. Normally, I do my blogging and other writing at that time but I barely got my blogs in before the midnight deadline last night. (I say blogs because it's almost a guarantee that the connection will shut down just as Big Jim, AKA Geezerguy, is about to publish his before leaving for work. So I have to wait to be reconnected to post both blogs.)

I figured I'd do mine early today. Get the laptop booted up and take care of the email and the forum I moderate. Nuts! There goes the connection. Reboot. Make another cup of tea and sit down to write. Nuts! reboot-again and again. Okay, here we go. Nuts! The battery is dead in the mouse.

Simple fix right? No. We have a shoe box full of batteries for all the various devices in the rig. They are stored conveniently, under the bed. Unfortunately, on top of the bed are both Big Jim and Clancy, both snoring away. (Big Jim works until 4:00AM and sleeps until noonish. Clancy sits up guarding the house and waiting for daddy to come home then doesn't get up until he does.)

I HATE touch pads. I am forever getting my right and left buttons mixed up and that’s not good when you are a lousy typist to begin with. And did you ever try to play Bejeweled with a touch pad?? (it just took me 9 tries to get that sentence in the proper place and fix the spelling in Bejeweled!) Mostly I keep forgetting to hit the left button when I go to correct something so I make things 20% worse with every fix!

Since I did not want to attempt to do exactly what I’m doing now, writing text with a touch pad, I decided to jazz up my blog. Everybody else has all these bells and whistles on theirs. Heck my DDIL#2, Hilly, just started a blog yesterday and hers already has more doodads on it. Mine looks like a kindergarten blog. On second thought the kindergarten crowd can probably do this better than me too! (and that gives me a whole new blog idea for one of these days).

Anyway, I’m really proud of myself. I put on a slide show, added my favorite blogs , finally figured out how to get a link to my book page,(subtle product placement) and generally upgraded everyth…uh..most of it. What’s more, there’s a guy in Arizona ,who’s going to call me in a couple of days and tell me how to actually get the titles of my older blogs listed instead of just dates.

See ya down the road,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Crafting Memories

I’m going to share a table at a craft show in a couple of weeks with another Workamper. I haven’t done that in eleven years so this should prove interesting.

When we lived in Bellingham, Washington, I used to do craft fairs with my sister, Scrabblebuff, almost every weekend from September to December each year. We never made much money but usually we covered our expenses and had enough profit to go buy more supplies.

Since I moved away from the Pacific Northwest and my little sister, I’ve realized that part wasn’t really too important. Mostly what we did on those weekends was spend time with each other. We empathized with each other if her stuff was selling but not mine, or mine instead of hers. (while trying not to feel too smug about it) We’d try to figure out what we could do better next week and make plans to increase production of the things that sold well. Sometimes we laughed the whole time. There were plenty of weekends when we bickered like sisters tend to do. But we were together. And we got to wear our Christmas sweatshirts too.

I moved to California in 1997. Once there, I only tried to sell my crafts at one small fair . My son went with me and we had a good time but it wasn’t the same. So I stopped doing the fairs and turned to to internet to market my dollhouse miniatures. Financially, I was quite successful on line, but alone in my craft room, in front of the computer, somehow wearing those Santa sweatshirts wasn’t quiet as much fun.

This past Spring we spent nearly a month at Scrabblebuff’s house, near Tacoma, while we waited for my son’s wedding in May. We went shopping together, and played endless games of Scrabble. We debated the relative merits of the candidates and the relative merits of our shoes. (we are both diabetics with foot problems). While we didn’t do any crafts, she did pull out her fancy new computerized sewing machine and fixed my privacy curtain for the motor home. I wish we’d had a little longer to play. I miss her.

So when my friend and I go set up our table, I’ll enjoy making a few dollars while selling some of the scarves and Christmas ornaments I make as we travel the country. But I’ll also be remembering the fun my sister and I used to have doing this. And of course, like before, whatever does n’t sell, she’ll get for Christmas!

See ya down the road,

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why all the Complaints?

Did you ever wonder?

…why there’s no turnout for 4 miles up the steep hill so you can let all those impatient cars pass you but once you crest the hill and pick up speed there’s plenty of room to pull over?

…why so many towns in areas dependent upon tourist trade provide no parking spaces for RVs?

…why when there are 12 dryers to choose from, the one you pick doesn’t dry your clothes?

…why you seem to be the only diabetic, who can’t eat sugar, at a pot luck attended by 40 seniors in the RV park?

…why there are big signs about quiet times between 10PM and 8 AM but the maintenance guy always starts the riding lawn mower at 7 AM?

… why so many RVrs head for small mom and pop parks and the small sites by the river and then complain that the trees are too close together for their slides?

… why when you are finally in a position to finish the puzzle in the RV park's club house, there’s always a piece missing?

… why after you’ve brought in an armful of good mysteries and thrillers for the book swap there are only romances left to trade?

… why when you finally have a great WIFI signal so you can check the Workamper Hot Line the biggest RV in the universe gets parked between you and the tower!

…why we let trivial things like these get to us when we are lucky enough to be living a lifestyle others only dream of or haven’t the imagination to try?

See ya down the road,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank You

God Bless America!

When I was a young girl living in Adams, Massachusetts, I was privileged each Veteran's Day to be able to watch my Dad, and members of the various Veteran's groups, march down Park Street behind the Adams High School band. I was proud of Dad but I'm not sure just how well I understood then what this day truly meant to them or to us as Americans.

As they marched, walked, or sometimes were wheeled or driven past us, my friends and I waved our flags and celebrated the day off from school. We waved to our own fathers and uncles who had served in WWI or Korea. We pointed out the Grandfathers who had served in WWI. There were a dozen or more men, some in uniform who had been in the Spanish American War and even one very elderly man who always rode in the first convertible who was Adam's last living veteran of the Civil War.

Marching with the men, were a smaller group of women who had served with the WAVES, the WRENS and the WACS. Near the end of the parade there were a few more convertibles filled with Gold Star mothers.

What we young girls didn't realize then as we flirted and waved at the boys in the band, was that we were looking at the future veterans of the Vietnam war. Nor did we realize that some of those boys wouldn't come back to march again. And, of course, it never occurred to us that someday our own sons and daughters might be in Afghanistan, or Iraq.

But even if we did not understand it all then, we still were being respectful because these were special people. And those special people were honoring us by marching past and letting us have the opportunity to feel pride in our country.

We didn't always know it as we watched and saluted the passing flags, but through these brave men and women , marching past with pride,
God was blessing America.

Through the women and men who are serving today through military service, He still is.

Thank you.

See ya down the road,


Monday, November 10, 2008

Postcards From Clancy

My name is Clancy. I'm a rescue dog from New Mexico. This guy was putting me on a cold table when this other guy came in and said, "No, not this one." and took me away. Oh, and I'm a girl too, by the way. I was named for Big Jim's favorite aunt. I don't know what an aunt is, but that's what they tell people.

Some California type humans call me Clancy, the Gourmet Wiener Dog, simply because my parents were of different breeds. Mom was a Dachshund and Dad was a Blue Heeler. Rumor has it there may have been a terrier and even a beagle in my family tree.


As far as I'm concerned, I'm simply an All American Dog.

And I've been quiet long enough.

Mom is whining about not having an idea for her blog tonight so while she's busy staring at the clock and worrying about hitting the deadline, I'm going to finally introduce myself.

I am a full time RV dog. I've been traveling with Yarntangler and Geezerguy for about 3 1/2 years now. I really enjoy getting to see all the different places. Sometimes we stay in one place for a few months until I've got everything completely memorized. I get to know where all the good smells are and which way the squirrels are going to come from when they come out to start teasing me. Then suddenly they say, "Want to go for a ride in the house?" The next thing I know everything changes!

We get to see some pretty neat things too. The next time I get a chance to get on here I'll show you some of the postcards from my personal collection. But one thing you have to see right now is my friend Otis. I'm not exactly sure what he is. I know he's not a horse or a cow. He's not one of those stuffy pedigree dogs, that's for sure, but he was pretty cool. Didn't say much and he could spit too. I tried but I can't figure out how to do it.

Okay, looks like Mom is coming back.
I'd better go before she sees me. I'm not supposed to sit at the table. I guess I'd better go to bed. Hey do you like my bed? I made it myself one day while they were gone! I had this big old pillow thing but they made me sleep on the floor. They left that thing they put clothes and stuff in so I put my pillow in it. Ah...

See ya round the hydrant,