Tag Archives: amanda

A Kid Named Hershey

She’s not brown; she’s black. Still, Hershey is a very good name for her. She really is sweet!

Hershey became a part of the Evans family when Charles realized she’d been rejected by her birth mother, a nanny who had twins one dark night and, for whatever reason, decided to put all her efforts into only one. Charles called Amanda to see if she would like to raise a kid on the bottle and Amanda (always the nurturing one) didn’t hesitate.

Now that kid is so much a part of the family she eats, sleeps, and plays with someone all the time. One she particularly loves is Jared. She follows him around when he’s home, nipping at his trouser cuffs, piling on his chest when he tries to kick back, seeking kisses every chance she gets.. Maybe that’s why Jared recovered from the flu so quickly–so he could get back to work and leave Hershey behind. Jared isn’t big on sweets anyway.

I believe Candi is the one who said Hershey lay between her feet while she washed the dishes, which wouldn’t have been bad if she just wouldn’t nibble on her shoes.

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Charli with Hershey

Hershey reminds me of our first little kid. We had not yet acquired a flock of sheep or a herd of goats. Charles helped that nanny to deliver and, just as Hershey was abandoned, so that little kid found no favor with her birth mother. So Charles brought her home. That kid was the greatest entertainment for William and for us. She was so cute, bleating for all the world like a human baby, cuddling up under my chin. One night I had the bright idea (may have been April 1) of teasing my sister in North Georgia about our kid. She knew we were on a waiting list to adopt. I would tell her we’d just gotten a kid and let the little one cry on the phone.

It worked. Suzanne was on the other end of the line screaming with excitement as the little kid bleated in my arms. When I finally told her the truth, I was the one who felt most let down, I think. The joke was on me! No matter how sweet that little goat, she couldn’t take the place of the human baby I longed for.

Amanda and her children have snuggled this baby, given her a bottle on a regular schedule, wrapped her in blankets, cleaned up her messes and practically taught her the English language. Amanda has reported proudly her weight gain, how she sticks out her tongue, her cute lovable ways. Hershey loves to run around the house, leap onto the couches, and untie everyone’s shoe laces.

But Hershey isn’t potty trained. That is becoming more and more of a concern. I’m beginning to hear war stories on her sloppy behavior. So I think soon Hershey is going to be re-introduced to a pasture. Though it may be a shock to her at first, it wont take her long to learn what to do with lots of grass and leaves and hay instead of measured amounts she’s offered. She will love sporting in the sunshine, becoming acquainted with occupants of the outdoors–birds, turtles, field mice, and the wilder side of the dogs she’s grown up with.

It won’t take her long because she was born for the outdoors, the larger space.

Hershey has been treated like a human baby and probably has been a little confused, what with dogs and children surrounding her, as to who she really is.

But, to put it simply, she’s wired as a goat. A goat she will be. And, I predict, a very happy one.

And I think Jared will be a very happy man not to have to shove Hershey out of the way in order to take a shower!

By the way, I think we, when we splash into the glories of heaven someday, will be ecstatic with our new wide open spaces, room to run, a chance for a chat with our Creator, blessings everywhere we turn including new friends and very old ones. We were born for feasting in heavenly pastures! We were wired for communing with Jesus.

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Quilting Party

Quilting Party

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 I didn’t know how many would come to my quilting party but I knew, however many or few, we’d have a good time. I invited women I know and love, some of whom are excellent quilters, some just learning, one who decided to work on her own creative crocheting project. There were four of us at the quilting frame, two on each side, with others coming and going, sharing a story, a laugh, and some heartening hugs.

It was a glorious beautiful morning outside and, because of my quilting friend Sally and her husband Wes, we had the quilt on a nice frame and a light that is perfect for quilting. It was a great morning for quilting on my nine-patch quilt I named “Sunny Afternoon.” The name is right for all the bright colors, the hummingbirds, butterflies, flowers and blueberries.

During hard times in our country’s history women quilted. They quilted to keep their families warm. They quilted using whatever resources they had, remnants of torn or outgrown garments, flour sacking and unbleached muslin. They quilted so all their blankets could go to keep their soldiers warm. In more affluent times and with new exciting fabrics they became extravagantly creative. In leaner times they made do with what they had. They quilted alone in their rural separateness. But sometimes they had a quilting party or quilting bee. Getting together to quilt they could actually finish several quilts in one day and everyone enjoyed it.

Women today don’t need to quilt. We can buy handmade quilts from China for far less than it costs to make them ourselves. We don’t need quilts as door hangings as pioneer women did. We don’t even have time to quilt. Working women are scattered every day to highly intense jobs, and when a busy homemaker gets home she and her spouse have hungry children, and then there are ball games, PTO meetings, and the list goes on.

But, yes, women do need to quilt. They need it for their own emotional health, for spiritual wellbeing, for connecting with the past, the future, and themselves. They need it for the sense of accomplishment it gives. They need it for passing on to their daughters a skill of the past and for teaching them to be resourceful, for our future may very well require that.

And, yes, quilting now is a very popular craft for women and for men. There is such a satisfaction and joy in making something beautiful even if, as in my case, the squares are not square and the seams keep dashing away from straight!

The word “quilt” comes from the Latin word “culcita” which means stuffed sack. It is a cloth sandwich with a decorated top layer (whether pieced fabric, appliquéd work, or a whole fabric with intricately stitched design), a soft filler (one hundred years ago the filler was dense, heavy cotton, but now is light and easy to stitch through), and the backing which also showcases the hundreds of stitches made on the topside.

I wondered if new quilters, or some who hadn’t quilted since forever, would grow quickly discouraged at a quilting party and remember something else they needed to do. I made a crock pot of soup, muffins, and brownies before they came so the house would smell so good they’d have to stay for lunch. And they did.

I also planned that we’d take turns being readers, read good wholesome shorts from Guideposts, maybe some poetry of Sidney Lanier, and our favorite Bible passages. There was no need for that plan! The chatter amongst us was all the entertainment we needed. Juanita, who is a veteran quilter, told us about some of her quilting successes and errors (we love to know that someone so good can make a mistake!). Annette helped us remember quilters in our church who now are in heaven and that brought on some interesting discussion on what may be happening in heaven. Sue, who had never quilted before, got so excited when she could see she’d stitched three three-inch blocks, we all had a good laugh. And when I sewed my finger to the quilt all I could hear other than giggles was “Don’t bleed on it!” Juanita kindly helped me cut free.

The moment-by-moment comments of quilters range from “All right! There went the knot popping in” to “Who had the thread last?” to “If I hurry, I can get to the end of this block before the thread runs out.” There are the peaceful murmury sounds of a long thread winging through fabric, of knots popping in, of the quilting frame creaking and giving to the quilters’ movements.

We talked about prayer needs. There were several heavy ones just amongst the few of us. We avoided politics this crazy election year but talked gleefully about our grandchildren, new folks in our community, how many bricks are going to be visible on the sidewalks when Cairo’s renovated town center is complete. We even talked about football. Sue lives near the high school stadium; Annette is an avid fan as am I.

Lunch was fun. My husband came home, helped serve iced tea, and, as usual, kept everyone enthralled with one of his animal stories from a morning’s work. Was that the day they put a 500 pound sow on a surgical table designed for dogs? And Dr. Kidd, a neat little lady veterinarian, stood up on a stool to get the right surgical perspective.

When my friends started to go, I gave them each one of my books, an author’s prerogative, and reminded them to take their thimbles, souvenirs of our quilting party. And we formed a circle around the quilt and prayed for those prayer needs, especially for Sally recovering from a fall and about to have surgery.

Titus 2:3 says this about women and I think it applies to all the wonderful quilters in my background including my mother and to present quilters, discounting, of course, the “a” word: “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;”

They all said they’d come back. And that’s really good because my quilt is not nearly finished.

Below is a picture of my dear granddaughter Amanda who helps me “blog” my pictures. I insisted she make stitches too! Charli was very patient and curious.

If you’ve had fun giving a quilting party, or just quilting, why not make a comment below?

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Grandchildren Trees

The week our first grandchild was born happened to be Earth Week. When my husband and I ordered hamburgers at a McDonald’s near the hospital we received along with our meal a tiny pine tree planted in a Styrofoam cup. We laughed about the incongruity of an Earth Day gift in a Styrofoam cup. But we liked the little tree and, even though we had lots of huge pines already, we set out to plant that one. We planted it where it would receive plenty of sunshine and grow to a lofty height. This tree, we told each other, would always be our granddaughter Amanda’s age. It was quite naturally dubbed “Amanda’s Tree.” In the picture we took of her with her tree when they were a year old she’s smiling big and the tree only reached to her little feet dangling from the stroller. Now, at twenty-five, our girl turned woman has to look high in the sky to see the top of her tree.

When our next grandchild was born someone was giving away maple trees in cups. We planted Charles Douglas’s little tree near a couple other maples hoping for bright colors in the fall. “This tree will never be as tall as Amanda’s pine,” I worried. But Charles, my husband, reasoned that wasn’t the point. We were planting a nice tree to honor the birth of Charles Douglas Reeves. Later, when he was old enough to question why his tree wasn’t as big as Amanda’s, I assured him his would be much brighter.

Our third grandchild was born on the first of January, not in March like the first two. No one was passing out trees in Birmingham. But when we got home to our place in Cairo, Georgia, we looked around and decided this grandson, William Stacey Graham, Jr., should have a tree also. It just so happened that not far from one of our huge pines was a brand new long leaf seedling. Charles staked it for protection and that became William’s tree. As you can imagine, for two or three years he was totally unimpressed by that little tree. As he grew in wisdom and stature, however, he was glad to own a tree as his cousins did.

And then along came Thomas Hamilton Graham, born in February. No trees were being given. But Charles and I had begun to crave a ghinko tree. We’d enjoyed their fall color when we lived in Athens and then had been intrigued by the sprawling ghinko at our church in Cairo where it hugs up under a magnificent sweetgum. We purchased a ghinko tree that spring and planted it by the driveway where a palm tree had died leaving a nice rich spot. Thomas’s tree grew year by year more slowly than the other trees but with a certain exotic atmosphere true to its Chinese heritage, its fan-shaped leaves turning gold in the fall.

By the time Martha Elizabeth Graham was born in March, 2009, we had become enthusiasts of the majestic and romantic magnolia trees. Charles planted one for “Mattie” across the driveway from Thomas’s ghinko tree. I thought about the women in the movie “Steel Magnolias” and felt sure this little girl who, even at her difficult birth, was called by her father “a fighter,” would become both gentle and strong like them. Our first picture of Mattie with her tree shows her instant curiosity over those shiny leaves.

Growing a tree for each of our five grandchildren has not been without some disappoint-ments. Thomas’s ghinko tree lost its whole top one year in a storm but it has recovered and looks beautiful now. Charles Douglas’s maple contracted some kind of moldy disease and died. Charles D took it in stride. We planted him another tree but it died too. By then Charles D himself was about grown and able to laugh about losing two trees. “Don’t plant another one,” he said. “Look at all these trees we have to mow around already.”

And now we’re selling our place, our beloved “Lane of Palms.” What will happen to all the grandchildren trees? I comfort myself in thinking some other children will enjoy playing around those trees. But I know that is just a leafy dream. We can look at our pictures from “tree photo ops” over the years and reminisce. But I hope most of all that our grandchildren will always love and respect trees and find joy in their beauty.

As Joyce Kilmer wrote in his poem titled “Trees,” “Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.”

If you’ve planted trees for your grandchildren, or made some other kind of collection, given books to the library in their honor, or made a tradition of some kind with them, please share your comments below.

 

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